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* / 5 


First published in 1909 




IN presenting this history to the British public, I 
must draw attention to the fact that the material 
is gathered solely from Spanish sources, so that 
where the statements do not tally with the reports 
of English historians it must be remembered that 
the book, as the mouthpiece of Spanish writers, 
may lay claim to a special interest of its own, 
particularly as some of these books are not known 
in our country. 

Thus, the account of the character of Ferdi- 
nand VII., the story of the Second of May, 1808, 
the relations between England and Spain during 
the reign of Isabella II., and the account of the 
recent Regency of Maria Cristina, may open points 
of view not generally entertained in England, but 
the fact of their sources may entitle them to some 

The history of the Regency ending in 1902, by 
Ortega Rubio, was only published last year, and 
it was as a privileged reader of the library of the 
Royal Palace at Madrid that I studied it. The 
book referred to by Galdos has also only recently 



Author's Note 

seen the light. I owe much of the information to 
the celebrated bibliophile, Don Fernando Bremon, 
who garnered it for me from many histories now 
out of print and from manuscripts which came into 
his hand from his connection with celebrities of 
the Spanish Court. Other sources of information 
were open to me at the valuable library of the 
Athaeneum at Madrid, of which I was made an 
honorary member during my stay in the capital ; 
and I have also to render tribute to those whose 
personal recollections have added to the interest 
of my survey of Court life during the last century. 












MUNOZ - -122 












1874 242 








XVII. ALFONSO XIII. - - - - 305 


INDEX - - 345 



From a photograph by Franzen, Madrid. 



From the painting by Goya in the Museo del Prado. 



From an engraving. 



From an engraving. 

From an engraving. 



From an original painting. 


From a photograph. 


From an engraving. 


From a painting by Casado del Alisal. 

From an engraving. 


List of Illustrations 



From a painting by Benjumea. 


From a painting by Madrazo. 



From a painting by Benjumea. 


From a photograph. 


From a photograph. 


KING OF SPAIN - - 226 

From a photograph by J. Laurent, Madrid. 

From a painting by Miss A. J. Challice, exhibited at the Royal 
Academy, London. 


ARANJUEZ - - 252 

From a painting by J. Bermudo y Mateos. 



From a photograph by Franzen, Madrid. 

From a photograph. 


From a painting by J. A. Benlliure y Gil. 


MINISTER - - 292 

From a photograph. 


List of Illustrations 


From a photograph by Debas, Madrid. 


From a photograph by Franzen, Madrid. 


From a photograph by Debas, Madrid. 


From a photograph by J. Beagles and Co. 


AT A BULL-FIGHT - - 3*6 

From a photograph. 



From a photograph by Baumann, Munich. 



From a photograph by Franzen, Madrid. 


ALFONSO XIII. - - - - - 33 8 


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A three-volume History of Ferdinand VII., published 1843, 
with the original correspondence of Napoleon and Bourbon 
family as Appendix. 

" Memorias de un Setenton " (septuagenarian), by Ramon 
Mesoneros Romanos. 1880. 

" Estafeta del Palacio Real," by Bermejo. 3 large vols. 

Unpublished MSS., the property of Don Fernando Bremen, 
brother-in-law to the Marchioness of Salamanca, the lady-in- 
waiting of the present Prince of Asturias. 

" Memorias de Don Antonio Alcala Galiano." 1886. 
"La de Los Tristes Destines," Perez Galdos. 1907. 
Rare old book : " Narracion de Don Juan Van-Halem." 

" Regencia de Maria Cristina," by Juan Ortega Rubio. 
1907. 2 large vols. 







1800 1804 

THE history of Spain during the nineteenth century 
is synonymous with that of favourites at the 
Court of Madrid, for as the country, in spite of 
all its struggles, had practically no voice in the 
election of the Parliaments, the main events of 
the land had their rise in the royal palace, where 
self-interested persons blinded the eyes of the rulers 
for their own purposes. 

Thus the fall of Spain into the hands of the 
French evidently resulted from the dissensions of 
those environing the Royal Family, and the hopes 
entertained by the optimistic Spaniards at the 
return of Ferdinand VII. were destroyed by the 
flattering courtiers' encouraging the Sovereign in 
his despotic ideas. 

The evils of the reign of Isabel II., and the revolu- 
tion and republic which followed, can all be traced 
to the same intriguing spirit of the Court, and from 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

the death of Charles III., who is still spoken of 
as the " great Charles/' the government of the 
country was, in reality, in the invisible hands of 
those who ruled the Sovereign ; and hence the 
disastrous influence exercised in the land by Queen 
Maria Luisa, whose feeble, good-natured consort, 
Carlos IV., let her pursue her self-willed course, 
whilst falling himself an easy prey to the over- 
weening ambition of Godoy, her favourite. This 
daughter of Philip, Duke of Parma, had shown 
from her childhood signs of great intelligence, and 
her education had given full scope for her talents. 
Without being absolutely beautiful, her features 
had a charm of their own from their expression, 
and her fine eyes, elegant figure, and pleasant 
manners, soon exercised a sway at the Court of 
Spain when she made her appearance as the bride 
of the Prince of Asturias. 

Albeit generous and warm-hearted, Maria Luisa 
was of a somewhat arrogant disposition. This was 
seen when she was only twelve years old, in the 
tone of superiority she adopted in her home after 
the contract of her marriage to the heir of the 
Spanish throne had been signed. Her brother 
Ferdinand resented this assumption of superiority, 
and remonstrated with his sister on the subject. 
Upon this the Princess promptly lost her temper, 
and said : " I will teach you to pay me the atten- 
tion which you owe me, because I shall finally 
be Queen of Spain, whilst you will never be 
more than a little Duke of Parma !" "Well, 
the Duke of Parma will have the honour of 
slapping the Queen of Spain/' was the reply, 


Intrigues of Ferdinand against his Parents 

and Ferdinand promptly gave his sister a slap in 
the face. 

The Duke was then arrested by order of his 
father, and he was only released at the plea of his 
sister, who was sorry when the quarrel assumed 
such a serious aspect. 

When crowned Queen of Spain, in 1789, as the 
wife of Charles IV., twenty-four years after her 
marriage, Maria Luisa soon showed that her 
impulsive nature, which knew no check from her 
husband, would bring her country to grief. 

Captivated by the young Godoy, she surprised 
and alarmed the nation by the swift way she 
exalted him to the highest position in the realm. 
As the favourite had known how to dominate the 
will of the King, as well as to subjugate the heart of 
the Queen, there was no limit to his power, and 
when he was given the title of " The Prince of 
the Peace/ ' for the alliance he made with the 
French, the animosity of the nation was so much 
excited that public interest was soon centred in 
Prince Ferdinand as one who might free the Court 
from the favourite, and thus save the country 
from the disastrous effect of an undue submission 
to France. 

As Alcala Galiano says in his " Memorias," 
" The title of ' Prince ' conferred on Godoy seemed 
to detract from the dignity of the Royal Family/* 
The Prince of Asturias was at this time eleven years 
of age. 

It must be remembered that the Queen had never 
gained any real hold on her son's love. She was 
naturally disinclined to any efforts dictated by 

3 A 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

maternal love, and she had taken no pains to 
overcome the constitutional defects of her son, 
which were repellent to her lively imagination and 
quick temperament. 

In a letter to the Grand Duke of Berg, the Prince 
is described by the royal mother as peculiarly 
deficient in sensibility, and she remarks that his 
torpid nerves indeed required strong stimulants 
for their exercise. He spoke little, rarely smiled, 
and found a sardonic satisfaction in all kinds of 
petty acts of cruelty. He liked to crush a little 
bird if it fell into his hands, and, indeed, pity was 
a quality to which he was a stranger. 

As the education of the young Prince was 
entrusted to Don Juan Escoiquiz, it was soon seen 
that he exercised a great power over the royal 
pupil, and he sought to use him as an instrument 
for thwarting the schemes of the Queen's favourite 
which boded ill for the land. 

Escoiquiz was certainly clever. He had trans- 
lated Young's poems and Milton's " Paradise 
Lost," and when he was summoned to the royal 
palace in his capacity of tutor to the young 
Prince, he exclaimed : " I shall be happy if my 
instruction of my royal pupil leads to his being the 
most humane of Princes." 

However, time did not show that he guided the 
Prince in this direction, for the intrigue of the 
Queen with Godoy so aroused his malicious envy 
that his one idea was to instigate his pupil to 
courses tending to the overthrow of the favourite. 
Classics and mathematics were foregone by the 
cleric, who devoted the time to teaching the Prince 


Intrigues of Ferdinand against his Parents 

that the one great secret of a ruler was to trust 
nobody entirely, but to oppose one man to another 
man and one party against the other. 

This lesson of distrust the royal boy learnt to 
perfection, and as his cold etyes watched his 
mother's deceitful conduct, and he saw how easily 
his father fell a prey to the artifice and design of 
the lovers, his heart was a fruitful soil for the 
poisonous words of his preceptor. 

Escoiquiz soon determined to use the lad more 
effectually as an instrument against Godoy, and 
so he inspired him with the desire to have a seat 
in the Cabinet Ministry, and he wrote discourses 
and treatises which he gave the Prince to publish 
as his own, so that the lad might pose as a states- 
man of a wisdom and foresight beyond his years. 

But although Carlos IV. was an easy tool for 
an unprincipled wife, he was not inclined to fall 
a prey to the machinations of his son, and to 
give his son a place that had been denied to him- 
self at a like age ; so the artifice of the tutor was 
discovered, and he was dismissed from Court with 
the appointment of Archdeacon of Alcaraz, in 
the Chapter of Toledo. 

But albeit banished from his post as tutor, the 
cleric still retained his influence over the Prince, 
and he seized every opportunity of going to the 
royal palace to foster the ideas which he had' 
instilled in the mind of his former pupil. 

The picture given by Manuel Godoy in his 
" Memoires " of the daily life of the young royal 
people at this time shows that parental affection 
played little part in the lives of the young Princes 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

and Princesses. After the morning Mass was over, 
the young people were allowed to receive visits 
till half-past eleven, when they went to their 
parents' room, and there remained till lunch-time, 
and each Infante and Infanta had his or her meal 
in a separate apartment. The afternoon drive 
was generally taken in the same direction every 
day, and the carriage was accompanied by a 
royal guard. In the evening the Infantes and 
Infantas spent half an hour with their parents, 
and then returned to their own quarters, where 
they were sometimes allowed to have their friends. 

Whenever the Infantes and Infantas went from 
one part of the palace to another, they were 
accompanied by a gentil hombre, and they were 
treated very much like State prisoners. 

This monotonous life of the Royal Family was 
suddenly disturbed by the Mission from the Court 
of France in which the proposal was made by 
Napoleon to unite his brother Lucien in marriage 
with Isabel, daughter of Carlos IV. The King 
was alarmed at the idea of such a close connec- 
tion with the warrior who treated Europe like a 
chess-board, but, not wishing openly to refuse the 
powerful ruler, he promptly arranged for the mar- 
riage of the Princess with his nephew, who was 
heir to the throne of Naples, and he also made 
arrangements for the marriage of Ferdinand v$h 
Princess Maria Antonia of Naples. 

Godoy was strongly opposed to the Prince's 
marriage, declaring that eighteen was too tender 
an age for this step, and that it would be better 
for tHe young man to improve his mind by travel- 


Intrigues of Ferdinand against his Parents 

ling, and fit himself for his future task of govern- 
ing the nation before he married. However, the 
King listened to the Marquis of Caballero, who 
was in favour of the alliance, and the wedding of 
Ferdinand took place in Barcelona in October, 
1802, at the same time as that of his sister. 

When Ferdinand subsequently heard how Godoy 
had tried to prevent his marriage, he thought it 
was with a desire to prevent the succession being 
established in his favour, and his hatred of the 
favourite increased accordingly. 

Godoy writes very emphatically in his 
u Me moires " of the evil influence exercised by 
Escoiquiz on the mind of Prince Ferdinand : 

" The master seized upon the moral faculties of 
his pupil like an unclean insect which sticks to 
the bud of a rose and stops the growth by the 
web it weaves. Ferdinand, doomed at an early 
age to feel no affection for anyone, was a prey to 
fear and dissimulation. His youth, his manhood 
in short, his whole life was passed in a state of 
uninterrupted suspicion. He did not believe in 
virtue, not even in that of Escoiquiz, and at last 
the tutor received the due reward of the instruc- 
tions he had imparted to his pupil. 

!< He died, loaded with contempt, ejected and 
banished from his pupil." 

Godoy declared that his enemies paralyzed his 
endeavours to free Spain from the dominion of 
the French. He writes in the same " Memoires ": 

c< Determined to impose upon the young Prince 
that I wished to deprive him of the natural affec- 
tion of .his august parents, my enemies so far 



The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

succeeded in alarming him that the Prince was 
brought to look upon me as a dangerous rival 
who aspired to seat himself on the throne. To 
such perfidious insinuations they added other 
indirect practices. 

" They made Charles IV. tremble at the bare 
idea of a war with France, when I had in Sep- 
tember, 1806, firmly resolved upon proclaiming it." 

The account of Manuel Godoy's last visit to the 
ex-Queen Maria Luisa is characteristic of the 
devotion of the courtier : 

" It was in May, 1808, that my old King, his 
august lady, and the young infant Francisco, the 
unhappy victims of the iniquitous faction that 
called Napoleon to interfere in the matters of 
Spain, were transported from that country to 
France, and they remained in the dull, lonely 
dwelling of Fontainebleau. 

" The Queen, a stranger in the royal palace of 
her ancestors, was in a grand bed. Her eyes were 
full of sadness but of majesty ; her grave and 
venerable face was stamped with virtue. As she 
was able to speak openly without the presence 
of any importunate witnesses, she evidently wished 
to give expression to her feelings when her eyes 
fell on those who were with her, and she noted the 
tears which they vainly strove to stop. At last 
she. broke the silence, and said : 

" ' And you (tu), Manuel, my loyal friend, from 
whom I have had so many proofs that you would 
always remain so till the end you will have your 
customary patience and listen to what I have to 

say !' " 


After the Painting by Goya in the Museo del Prado 

To face page 8 

Intrigues of Ferdinand against his Parents 

And then the Queen once more poured into her 
friend's ears her doubts and fears as to her future 
and that of Charles IV. 

From the time Maria Antonia of Naples married 
the eighteen-year-old Prince of Asturias in 1802, 
she proved herself an active partisan of her hus- 
band and his tutor Escoiquiz, and if she had lived 
longer her clear-sightedness might have prevented 
the surrender of Spain to Bonaparte. 

In obedience to her mother, Queen Caroline of 
Naples, the Princess of Asturias was unremitting 
in her efforts to contravert the plans of her 
irreconcilable enemy Napoleon, which were sub- 
sequently furthered by the short-sighted policy 
of Godoy and Maria Luisa. Secret and almost 
daily were the letters which passed between 
Princess Maria Antonia and Queen Caroline, and, 
as the correspondence was conducted in cipher, it 
entered the Court of Naples without attracting 
any attention, and thus many diplomatic secrets 
from Madrid travelled thence to England. In the 
bitter warfare of personal hatred and political 
intrigue no accusations were too bad to be levelled 
by one part of the Spanish Royal Family against 
the other. 

The partisans of the Prince and Princess 'of 
Asturias declared that Godoy and Maria Luisa 
filled the King's mind with suspicions against 
Ferdinand, even to the point of attributing 
parricidal thoughts to him, so that the King might 
disinherit him and put Godoy in his place. And 
the followers of Godoy declared that the Princess 
of Asturias not only had designs against the Prince 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

of the Peace, but against the Sovereigns them- 

The secret correspondence between Queen Caro- 
line and her daughter was found years afterwards 
in the house of the Duke of Inf antado, and it showed 
the hatred of the Prince and his wife towards the 
Queen's favourite, whilst speaking of the King 
as if he already had one foot in the grave. 
One of these letters to Naples was intercepted by 
Napoleon, and it fully convinced him of the part 
played by Prince Ferdinand and his wife with 
regard to France. 

The people's discontent with Godoy was fos- 
tered by Ferdinand's followers, and, indeed, the 
government of the turbulent country required a 
more expert hand than that of the favourite. 

The clergy were also enraged when they heard 
that the Minister had received a Bull from Rome 
for the reform of the monastic institutions, and 
they exalted Ferdinand to the sky as a patron 
and protector of the altars, whilst they circulated 
exaggerated stories with regard to those in power, 
and his mother was the chief object of these 

When Queen Maria Luisa found the love which 
the people had formerly professed for her and her 
husband was now turned into hatred, she said that 
" Madrid was a place for good Princes and bad 

Napoleon soon intercepted another letter from 
Ferdinand's wife, Maria Antonia, to the Queen of 
Naples, and he sent it to Carlos IV. to show what 
dreadful reports she gave of her father and mother 


Intrigues of Ferdinand against his Parents 

in law, and how she not only spoke against France 
with the bitterness of hatred, but she offered to 
work with all her might to break the alliance of the 
Spanish Cabinet with the Emperor of the French. 

The King, seeing the false position in which he 
was placed by the imprudence of his daughter- 
in-law, begged his wife to take the letter to the 
Princess of Asturias, and to conjure her to be more 
careful in the future. 

The Queen seems to have been as conciliatory 
as possible in the interview, but Maria Antonia 
would not listen to her mother-in-law, and behaved 
in such an arrogant fashion that Ferdinand himself 
had to call her to reason. 

The dissensions continued at Court, and Ferdi- 
nand one day asked Godoy, the Prince of the Peace, 
what might be the destination of the combined 
fleets. Fearing that the Prince's Italian wife would 
betray such an important State secret, Godoy 
purposely gave an equivocal reply, saying that the 
squadron at Toulon would go towards Egypt, and 
that the others would wait for an opportunity of 
falling upon Ireland. 

Maria Antonia lost no time in reporting the 
news to her mother, and, consequently, Nelson 
was manoeuvring ijn those seas whilst the Spanish 
and French ships set sail for America. So the 
Englishman lost many days waiting off Malta in 
his belief of the news he had received from Naples. 
It was thus that Godoy checkmated the plan of the 
Princess of Asturias to aid the English against 
France, which was as much the foe of Naples as it 
was the ally of Spain. 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

The fact of Ferdinand's wife manoeuvring 
against Napoleon made her very unpopular at 
Court, and, although she was a model of industry 
and virtue, Godoy was naturally opposed to one who 
supported Ferdinand in his hatred of himself, whilst 
Escoiquiz regarded her as an invaluable tool for his 
designs against the French, and thus the palace 
was at this time a perfect hotbed of intrigue. 

It was said that the two miscarriages of the 
Princess of Asturias were due to treatment to 
which she was subjected by the arrangement of 
the Queen or the Prince of the Peace, or by the 
concert of both. 

The premature death of his wife was indeed an 
unfortunate thing for the Prince of Asturias, for, 
as she said a short time before her departure, she 
regretted she was about to leave him, as she believed 
that, had she lived, she would have influenced 
him very wisely. Report also attributed this 
death to the machinations of the Queen and her 
favourite, albeit it was known that she died from 
an attack of phthisis. 

Some time after the Princess's death, the Prince 
of Asturias, who had subsequently learnt that 
Godoy had deceived him in his report as to the 
destination of the French forces on an important 
occasion, said to the favourite : 

" But to be frank, Manuel, you were either 
deceived yourself or you deceived me. You told 
me that the French fleet at Toulon was going to 

" It is true, sefior, but there was a change in 
affairs, and so the plan was changed." 


Intrigues of Ferdinand against his Parents 

" No," returned Ferdinand, " because the fleet 
went off at the first start to the ocean " 

" You will recollect/' said la Paz, " it started 
twice, because the first time Nelson got news 
beforehand of it, and so it had to return to the 
port and take a very decided direction the second 

" No/' returned Ferdinand in a rage, " neither 
the expedition to Egypt nor the attack on Ireland 
were truly arranged. You take a pleasure in 
telling me a tissue of lies. It is quite evident that 
you regard me as a mere cipher in the palace, and 
you treat me worse than a porter. The heir- 
apparent is the representative of the Sovereign, and 
deserves equal respect. Would you have dared 
to deceive my father like that ?" 

" When you are King," returned Godoy, re- 
straining his wrath with difficulty, " you will your- 
self justify similar conduct in your Ministers. But 
I have long wished to resign my office, and if Your 
Highness will add your request to mine in the 
matter it will not be difficult to succeed." 

" Yes," returned Ferdinand, with a malicious 
smile, " you want to compromise me like that. 
Is it not so ?" And he turned his back on the 
Minister and left him. 

Such was the open state of enmity between 
Godoy and Ferdinand in the royal palace, and 
the Prince's hatred of the favourite was, if pos- 

('")le, equalled by that of the people. 
The King, who was nothing but a tool in his 
fe's hands, joined his consort in overwhelming 
the man with honours, until he was finally given 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

the post of High Admiral of Spain and the Indias, 
coupled with the title of Highness. 

The event was celebrated by all the united bands 
of Madrid, and, as Ferdinand had perforce to assist 
at the festivities with his parents, he whispered to 
his brother Carlos that he considered such honours 
as a personal insult to himself ; " for," he added, 
" this vassal of mine is usurping the love and 
enthusiasm of the people. I am nothing in the 
State, and he is omnipotent. My position is 

" Don't trouble yourself/' returned the Infante. 
" The more they give, the sooner they will take it 

The eyes of both father and son were now 
turned to Napoleon as the arbiter in their dissen- 
sions, and so Spain slipped gradually into the 
power of the great French commander. 

Certainly Ferdinand's letter to the Emperor was 
frank, if it was not self-respecting. " I wish," he 
said, " to confide in you as I would in a tender 
father. I am full of respect and filial love for 
my father," he continued, " for his heart is good 
and generous, and, as Your Majesty knows, these 
very qualities are but instruments in the hands of 
astute and malignant people to keep him from 
the truth. I implore Your Majesty," added the 
Spanish Prince, " not only to give me a Princess 
of your family as & J wife, but to do away with 
all the difficulties 7 which wilf accompany the 

The French Ambassador, Beauharnais, husband 
of the future Empress of the French, checkmated 


Intrigues of Ferdinand against his Parents 

the Prince's desires, for he informed Godoy of the 
letter addressed to his master, and the favourite 
prevented the matter from going any farther. 
However, although he knew that his hopes had 
been defeated, Ferdinand, schooled in the science of 
duplicity, caressed his mother and kissed the hand 
of his father, and all in such a cheerful and pleasant 
way that it was thought that he had overcome 
his naturally gloomy nature. But " still waters 
run deep/' and Ferdinand's hatred of his mother's 
favourite was now a consuming fire, and at the 
same time that it was said that Maria Luisa was 
hatching a scheme for a change in the dynasty, 
Ferdinand was engaged in a dreadful plot against 
his parents. It was at this time that the Prince 
presented his mother with a copy of his transla- 
tion from the French of Ver tot's " Revoluciones 
Romanas," and the title was naturally very ob- 
noxious to the Sovereigns. The very word 
" Revolucion " struck terror in the palace in 
those days, as it summoned up pictures of the 
execution of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette, 
so Carlos IV. remonstrated with the Prince on 
the direction taken by his literary tastes, and 
stopped the sale of the work ; so the book remained 
at the printer's until its translator ascended the 
throne of Spain. 

As the King was glad to see his son occupied, 
he told him that, if he really wished to cultivate 
his literary taste, he would advise him to translate 
Cordillac's " Etude de 1'Histoire," and when Fer- 
dinand asked his father what motto he would 
suggest for the book, Carlos promptly returned : 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

" Les hommes ne sont pas grands par leurs pas- 
sions, mais par leur raison." 

Thus, by the time the Court returned to the 
Escorial for the autumn months, the royal parents 
congratulated themselves that Ferdinand's liter- 
ary occupations had banished his misanthropic 
humours ; and when the Queen was told one day 
by the Marquesa de Perijaa, who was out walking 
with her, that her son passed the nights in writing, 
she explained to the lady that the Prince was 
engaged in the translation recommended by his 
father, and the information of his absorption in 
writing suggested no ulterior design. 

However, one day Carlos IV. found a letter 
placed in a room in the palace ready to meet his 
eye. " Urgent " was written on the cover, and 
the letter had no signature. Indited evidently 
with a trembling hand, it ran thus : 

" Prince Ferdinand is plotting something in the 
palace, the Crown is in danger, and Queen Maria 
Luisa is in imminent peril of dying from poison. 
The prevention of the deed is implored without an 
instant's delay. The faithful vassal who gives 
this information is not in a position to fulfil. his 
duty in any other way." 

All efforts to discover the writer of this epistle 
failed, and proof of its authorship was never 
found ; but the writer's object was gained, and 
the King determined to investigate his son's 
labours. So he appeared one night in the Prince's 
study with the excuse of asking him to compose 
something to celebrate the recent successes in 


Intrigues of Ferdinand against his Parents 

America ; and this he did in a tone of friendliness, 
as he did not really give any credit to the anony- 
mous accusation which had reached him. How- 
ever, Ferdinand's confusion at his father's visit 
was suspicious, and, following the Prince's eyes, 
the King saw they were turned with anxiety to 
some papers on the table, and his request to see 
them was met with insolence. So the Sovereign 
promptly had the Prince put under arrest, with 
the understanding that he was not to leave his 
room or speak to anybody. 

As Godoy was ill in Madrid at the time, Carlos 
sent for Caballero, the Minister of Grace and 
Justice, in post-haste, and to him was read one of 
the documents he had found on Ferdinand's table, 
which the Prince had written at the dictation of 
Escoiquiz to present to his father. In this paper 
the character of Godoy was painted in the darkest 
colours, and the favourite was even accused of 
aspiring to the throne by plotting the death of 
the King and the rest of the Royal Family. The 
monarch was advised in the letter to ascertain 
these facts by lying in wait and listening to the 
tools of Godoy during a day's shoot in the Pardo 
or in the Casa de Campo. 

The King was also counselled to hold no com- 
munication with his wife during the time of the 
inquiry, so as to avoid her tears and plaints, and 
he was told to associate his heir with him in the 
Government and to give him the command of the 
troops ; and, finally, His Majesty was implored by 
his son to keep the letter a profound secret 
from his mother, as he did not wish to be ex- 

17 B 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

posed to her resentment and the revenge of his 

In another document written to the Prince of 
Asturias, Escoiquiz advised quite a different course 
of action, for he suggested that the fall of Godoy 
should be accomplished by an appeal to the Queen 
herself. Ferdinand was counselled to implore his 
mother on his knees to give up the favourite, 
whilst supporting his appeal by an account of the 
amours of the Prince of the Peace with other 
ladies ; and the letter concluded with the advice 
to avoid all thought of a marriage with Godoy 's 
sister-in-law. The King had also found in his 
son's room the cipher and key of the correspon- 
dence used between the Prince and the Arch- 
deacon of Toledo, and these were the same which 
had been used by his late daughter-in-law with 
the ex-Queen of Naples. 

And, lastly, among the papers there was a letter 

in Ferdinand's own handwriting, which was closed 

but not directed, and evidently meant for his 

adviser. In this note the Prince said he would 

look for a priest to put the document in his father's 

hands. He said, moreover, that he had taken 

St. Hermenegildo for his patron saint in the 

matter; but although he had put himself under 

this sacred protection, it was with no desire to 

accept the vocation of a martyr, and he would 

therefore be very careful to ascertain what success 

could crown the plot for Godoy 's overthrow before 

starting on it. But if the plot succeeded, he 

wished the storm to fall only on the head of 

Sisberto (Don Manuel Godoy) and Govinda XQueen 


Intrigues of Ferdinand against his Parents 

Maria Luisa, his mother), and Leovigildo (Carlos 
IV.) was to be brought over to his side with cheers 
and applause. 

The perusal of the papers completed, the King 
turned to Caballero, saying : 

" What punishment does the law impose for a 
son who acts like that ?" 

" Sefior," was the reply, " royal clemency is out 
of court in this matter ; the criminal deserves 
death !" 

" What !" cried the Queen, " have you forgotten 
he is my son ? By my right as his mother I will 
destroy these papers which would condemn him, 
for he has been deceived, he has been ruined !" 
And so saying, the unhappy mother flung herself 
into a chair, weeping bitterly and clutching at the 
incriminating letters. It was thus that they never 
appeared in the inquiry. 

Caballero advised a frank statement of the facts 
to the nation, so a royal manifesto was addressed 
by the King to the country, explaining "that, 
albeit his son was familiar with all the principles 
of Christianity indoctrinated by his paternal 
affection, he had favoured a plot to dethrone 

The King, moreover, wrote the following letter 
to Napoleon : 


"October 20, 1807. 


" At the time in which I was concerting 
means for the destruction of our common enemy, 
and when I thought that the designs of the Queen 

19 B 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

of Italy had ceased with the death of her daughter 
[Ferdinand's wife], I find that the spirit of blackest 
intrigue is within the very palace. My eldest son, 
the heir-presumptive to the throne, has conceived 
a fearful design to dethrone me and to attempt 
the life of his mother. Such an atrocious crime 
can only be punished by the severity of the law. 
That (law) which calls him to succeed me must be 
revokedy for one of his brothers will be more worthy 
to take his place in my heart and on the throne. 

" Now I am trying to discover his accomplices, 
to find the thread of the fearful misfortune, and 
I will not lose an instant in informing Your 
Imperial Majesty of the matter, begging you to 
aid me with your opinion and counsel. 

" This I beg, etc., 


That day, when Ferdinand thought his father 
had gone hunting, he begged his mother to come 
to his room or to let him go to hers. The Queen 
declined to comply with these requests, but she 
sent Caballero to the Prince, and, with the cowardly 
duplicity in which he was an expert, Ferdinand 
told the Minister that the serious steps with regard 
to the Queen had been suggested by his mother- 
in-law, the ex-Queen Caroline, and that they had 
filled both him and his late wife with horror. He 
added that, if the persistence of his evil counsellor 
had led him to be a little weak, it must be remem- 
bered he had resisted the seductions for four years, 
and that he had sought to introduce reforms into 
the kingdom. 





Intrigues of Ferdinand against his Parents 

When Godoy had recovered sufficiently from his 
indisposition to go to the Escorial, he appeared in 
the room of the disgraced Prince. 

Ferdinand threw himself into the arms of the 
favourite against whom he had plotted so darkly, 
exclaiming through his tears : 

" Oh, my Manuel, I have wanted so much to 
see you. I have been deceived and ruined by 
those rogues. You alone can get me out of this 

" I have come for that purpose/' returned 
Godoy. " You are the son of my King and Queen. 
Many a time I have held you in my arms, and 
I would give you a thousand lives if I had 
them. And I wept/' said Godoy, who tells this 
story in his " Memoires," " even more than 
the Prince, although his tears came from his 

' Yes, I am certain/' continued the Prince, 
tc that you would not come to see me like this if 
you did not intend to help me. You have spoken 
with my parents ? I cannot hope that they will 
pardon me. I have given the names of my 
evil advisers. What more can I do to show 
my repentance ? If there is anything more I 
can do, only tell me, tell me, for I will do 
anything in which to please my dear parents, 
and you too. I beg of you to help me, for pity's 


Senor, senor," returned Godoy, " there is an 
mmense distance between this humility to a 
mere slave of your family and changing your 
opinion of me. This I do beg of you to do ; 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

and as for the rest, I have only come for your 

" May God reward you !" replied the Prince. 
' You are the only one who can speak for me 
without any fear of compromising himself. Will 
you not dictate me a letter to my parents ?" 

' The best words you can write/' said Godoy, 
" are those from your own heart, and those I will 
take myself to your parents/' 

The result of this advice was two letters. The 
first was addressed to the King :* 


" I have done wrong, I have sinned against 
you as a King and as a father ; but I repent, and 
now I offer you the most humble obedience. I 
ought to have done nothing without telling Your 
Majesty, but I was taken by surprise. I have 
revealed the culprits, and I entreat Your Majesty 
to pardon me for having lied the other day, and 
that you will permit your grateful son to kiss your 
royal feet. 


The other missive ran thus : 


" I am very sorry for the grave offence I 
have committed against my parents and my King 
and Queen ; and it is with the deepest humility 
that I beg Your Majesty to intercede with papa 
for permission to kiss his royal feet. 


* " History of Ferdinand VII.," 1843. 


Intrigues of Ferdinand against his Parents 

The Prince's plea was granted, and the King 
pardoned his son, whilst ordering the inquiry to 
be completed against those who had instigated the 

Ferdinand sought to prove his horror of the 
counsels of his late tutor by showing his parents 
the books he had sent him, with the passages 
marked which the tutor had considered most 
appropriate to his situation. The works were 
" The Life of St. Hermenegildo," the poem by 
Morales in honour of the same saint, that of 
Alfonso the Wise and those of the Prince of Viana, 
Louis XIII., King of France, and his mother, 
Marie de Medicis. 

Maria Luisa's maternal affection, and Napo- 
leon's refusal to allow the publication of any in- 
formation bearing upon himself or his Ambassador 
Beauharnais, took all the significance from the 
inquiry, and, as the matter was thus gradually 
dropped, the country exonerated the Prince of 
Asturias from all blame. 

Ferdinand's opposition to Godoy and his mother 
certainly seemed to have been founded more upon 
personal aversion than political policy, for when 
the favourite cooled towards the French on 
finding that his designs on Portugal were not to 
be realized, Ferdinand himself began to show 
favour to the foreigners, and this is proved by 
his correspondence with Napoleon, which was 
published in Le Moniteur in 1808. 




As Napoleon considered that Ferdinand was only 
fit to be a tool and reign as a vassal of France, 
he suggested that the Prince should marry the 
daughter of his brother Lucien, and this proposal 
was made quite regardless of the aversion with 
which his niece regarded the proposed bride- 

To the keen insight of the warrior who wielded 
the sceptre of France, Charles IV. and his Ministers 
and Prince Ferdinand and his advisers all seemed 
like a tree waiting for the axe. But the Prince of 
Asturias represented the dawn of a new era to 
Spaniards. He was the centre of popular en- 
thusiasm, and to be one with his cause was to be 
one with the majority of the nation, 

Bonaparte, naturally, did not at once reveal his 
designs of gaining supremacy on the Peninsula to 
the King, and to lull any doubts on his part he 
gave him a magnificent pair of horses ; and 
although Charles IV. had written to him, after 
the settlement of the matter of the Escorial, that 
he approved of his son's union with the Imperial 
Family, Napoleon said he could not proceed in the 


The Overthrow of Godoy 

arrangements for such an advantageous marriage 
without his son's consent. 

As the confiding Charles thought that his son's 
demonstrations of affection after being set free 
were sincere, and being anxious to secure the 
peace of his household, he made up his mind to 
the great sacrifice of parting with Godoy, if by so 
doing he could quench the spirit of intrigue and 
jealousy in the palace. 

With this view the King sent for the Prince 
of Asturias to explain to him the course which 
he considered necessary in face of the constant 
disturbances in the country and the absolute 
necessity of union within the realm. 

To the surprise of his father, Ferdinand opposed 
the idea of the overthrow of the favourite. The 
Prince's smiling countenance filled the King's 
heart with joy, and it was with no doubt of his 
sincerity that he listened to his son's opinion 
that Godoy should not be asked to retire from 
the Court ; the Prince of the Peace was himself 
pleased when the heir-apparent gave him his hand 
with friendly looks, and bade him sacrifice his own 
feelings to the welfare of the kingdom and remain 
where he was appreciated. Neither King nor 
courtier could foresee that, even whilst inspiring 
confidence by his open, friendly demeanour, Fer- 
dinand was preparing at Aranjuez the sequel to 
the plot at the Escorial. 

In the meanwhile the French invaded Portugal, 
the Spanish soldiers materially aided them in the 
campaign, and Godoy began to see that the way in 
which the forces of Napoleon took possession of San 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Sebastian argued more the course of a conqueror 
than that of an ally. Barcelona, moreover, was 
also occupied by the French, and Charles IV. and 
Maria Luisa were filled with alarm at these signs 
of the supremacy of the French. The Prince of 
the Peace tried to persuade Their Majesties to 
repair to Andalusia, and sought to open their eyes 
to the astuteness of the Corsican and the misfor- 
tunes which it augured. Carne declares that 
Bonaparte only wished to be the regenerator of 
Spain by introducing, by the aid of royalty, the 
required reforms which were afterwards insisted 
on in the name of liberty, but the tumults and 
scandals of the Court finally led him to fall into 
the temptation which was the origin of all the 
misfortunes of the country. 

It must be remembered that the Escorial matter - 
had idealized the Prince in the minds of the people. 
His innocence, his sufferings, and his virtues, were 
all real in the eyes of the public ; whilst Godoy was 
only regarded as an atheist who sought to reform 
the friars through his brother-in-law, the Arch- 
bishop of Toledo. The French and their leader 
were therefore regarded as means for the assist- 
ance of the Prince of Asturias, and this idea was cir- 
culated throughout the provinces by the convents 
and the confessionals. The colossal power of the 
Church had indeed imposed itself on the throne. 
Its influence spread throughout all classes, and 
in the daring painting showing the world bound 
round with a San Franciscan cord, the end is held ( 
by a brother with these words, " We can do all." 

Murat, the Grand Duke of Berg, with whom 


The Overthrow of Godoy 

Maria Luisa had so much subsequent correspond- 
ence about her family affairs, now took up his 
abode at Burgos as the Emperor's lieutenant. 
Thus, poor Charles IV. was not only exposed to 
the treacherous designs of his son, but they were 
hatched under the wings of the Imperial Eagle. 

The King and his wife were now in the Palace 
of Aranjuez, on the banks of the Tagus, and 
thither went the Prince of the Peace to announce 
the signs of disaster. The orders for the Madrid 
garrison to proceed to Aranjuez confirmed the 
suspicions of the people of the terrible crisis which 
was taking place in the Court, and it was thought 
that the desire of Their Maj esties to go to Seville 
meant the extension of their journey to Mexico. 

Then came the historic I7th of March, when the 
murmur of the Tagus was drowned by the voices 
of the people surrounding the mansion. 

Between eleven and twelve o'clock a carriage 
was seen to leave Godoy 's mansion with his 
" friend " Josef a Tudo closely veiled. A shot was 
fired by someone who sought to make the lady 
disclose her identity, and then the Prince of 
Asturias put in his window the light which was 
the sign for the commencement of the tumult. 
The trumpet sounded the call to horse, and all 
ran to take possession of the different roads to the 
palace by which it was possible Godoy might 

The King and Queen sent for Ferdinand, and 
the Queen told her son that, as his poor father was 
suffering acute rheumatic pains, he was unable to 
go himself to the window, so she begged her son 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

to go and tranquillize the people in his father's 
name. This Fernando declined to do, under the 
pretext that the sight of him would make the firing 

The cries of the mob sacking Godoy 's dwelling 
were now audible, and the furniture and pictures 
were all hurled from the windows. It was curious 
that the people seemed to have little thought of 
appropriating the art treasures of the favourite. 
Their one desire was to find the poor man, and 
wreak their vengeance for his reported misdeeds ; 
but no sign of him was to be found. At last they 
gave up the search, and accompanied the wife and 
son to the palace. To show that their hatred did 
not extend to these personages, as the dissensions 
between Godoy and his wife were public property, 
they took the horses out of the carriage and drew 
it themselves. 

On the following day Charles IV. signed the 
decree which removed Godoy from his position as 
Generalissimo and Admiral, and he sent a letter 
to Napoleon to acquaint him with the fact, adding 
that his rheumatic pains prevented him doing 
more than dictate the letter. 

But there was no peace for the poor King. The 
following morning (March 19) two officials of the 
Guard came with the utmost secrecy to acquaint 
His Majesty with the news that a worse, tumult 
was brewing than that which had broken out the 
preceding evening, and that only the Prince of 
Asturias could prevent it. 

Ferdinand was then sent for, and his mother 
entreated him to prevent the riot by sending his 


The Overthrow of Godoy 

own people to calm the excitement of the populace, 
and commanding the instigator of the disturbance 
to return to Madrid. 

But hardly were these requests complied with 
when fresh tumult was heard. It seemed that 
Manuel Godoy was preparing to go to rest on the 
night of March 17, when he heard the noise of 
the mob at his house. He caught up a cloak, 
filled his pockets with gold, armed himself with 
pistols, and strove to save himself by a secret 
passage which led into the house of the widowed 
Duchess of Osuna. But the key was evidently 
not there, so the wretched man lay in his hiding- 
place like a mouse in a trap for thirty-six hours, 
suffering all the pains of fatigue and hunger 
and thirst, and fearing every minute to be assas- 

At last he returned into his own salon. A 
sentinel saw him, and he was seized by those in 
possession of his house. Of course he might have 
made use of his firearms, but, worn out with the 
sufferings of body and mind during the last 
thirty-six hours, he gave himself up to his per- 

Like wolves after their prey, the people hounded 
the wretched man, and they tried to stop the 
Guard acting in his defence by putting poles 
under the horses' bellies to prevent their advance. 
At last, however, the fugitive was bravely hoisted 
on to the saddle of the horse of one of the Guard, 
and he was taken off at a quick trot from the 
scene of his sufferings. 

When the news reached Madrid of the imprison- 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

ment of the Prince de la Paz on March 19, 
the mob flocked to the Plaguela del Almirante, 
where his house adjoined that of the Dukes of 
Alba. There the scene of Aranjuez was repeated : 
the furniture and treasures were cast out of the 
windows, and were for the most part devoured by 
the flames of the fire which was lighted close to 
the door. Then, drunk with vengeance, the popu- 
lace proceeded with burning torches to the' houses 
of the Prince* s relatives, and sacked that of his 
mother, his brother Don Diego, the Marquis of 
Branciforte, his brother-in-law, and tfiose of the 
ex-Ministers Alvarez y Soler, of Don Manuel Sixto 
Espinosa, and Amoros. 

The riding-school of the fallen favourite was 
converted into an altar to St. Joseph. 

It is from the pen of Maria Luisa that we have 
the most graphic description of the events, for in 
a letter to her daughter she writes thus :* 


" Tell the Grand Duke of Berg what is the 
situation of the King, myself, and the poor Prince 
de la Paz. 

" My son Ferdinand was at the head of the plot. 
He won the troops over to himself ; he had a light 
put in one of his windows as a sign for its ex- 
plosion. At that instant the Guards and the 
persons at the head of the revolution had two 
shots fired. They have tried to show that these 

* "History of Ferdinand VII.," 1843, and the correspond- 
ence of Napoleon with the Bourbon family, published in the 
Moniteuv in 1808. 


The Overthrow of Godoy 

shots were fired by the Guard of the Prince de la 
Paz, but it is not the truth ; for the Gardes de 
x>rps and the soldiers came at the people's call, 
and went where they liked without receiving any 
orders from their superior officers. 

" The King and I sent for my son to tell him 
how trying it was for his father not to be able to 
appear at the window, and that he was to go him- 
self to tranquillize the people in the name of the 
King ; but he replied very firmly that he could 
not do so, because it would be the sign for the 
firing to begin, and that he did not wish to give. 

" The next morning I begged him to put a stop 
to the tumult and tranquillize the rebels, and he 
replied he would do so. Then he sent for the 
second officers in command of the bodies of the 
royal horse, commanding many people to return 
to Madrid who had come to increase the revolution, 
and not to let any more come. 

" When the King had given these orders, the 
Prince de la Paz was found, and the King sent 
word to his son that the unhappy Prince, who was 
the victim of his friendship for us and the French, 
and particularly of the Grand Duke, was to be 
extricated from his position. My son went and 
commanded them not to touch the Prince de la 
Paz, and to conduct him to the barracks of the 
Royal Guards. He did it in his own name, although 
it was at the instance of his father ; and he said 
to the Prince de la Paz, as if he were the King 
himself, ' I grant you your life/ 

' The Prince de la Paz, in spite of his great 
injuries, asked him if he were King ; and he 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

returned that he thought of being so. This was 
because the King, the Prince de la Paz, and I, 
intended to abdicate in favour of Fernando, when 
we had seen the Emperor and arranged all the 
matters, among which was the marriage. My 
son returned : ' No, so far I am not King, but I 
soon shall be.' 

" Certainly my son commanded everything, as 
if he were King without being so, or knowing if 
he would be. The orders given by the King my 
husband were not obeyed. 

" Then on the day of the igth, when the abdica- 
tion took place, there was another worse tumult, 
threatening the life of the King, my husband, and 
this obliged him to form the resolution of abdi- 

" From the moment of his abdication, the King 
was treated by Ferdinand with all the contempt 
that can be used to a King, and without any con- 
sideration for his parents. 

" Then he sent for all the people concerned in 
his cause who had been disloyal to his father, and 
did all he could to grieve him. He bade us leave 
the place as soon as possible, and notified the 
town of Badajoz for our residence. In the mean- 
time he had no consideration for us whatever, 
and he showed great pleasure at being King and 
that we were withdrawn. 

"As to the Prince de la Paz, he did not want 
anybody to think of him. The Guards who had 
him in custody had orders not to reply to any 
questions that were asked, and they treated him 
with the greatest inhumanity. 


The Overthrow of Godoy 

. ' * ........,. 

" My son made the conspiracy to dethrone his 
father the King ; our lives have been in great 
danger, and that of the Prince de la Paz is so 

" The King, my husband, and I are hoping 
that the Grand Duke will do what he can in our 
favour, as we have always been faithful allies of 
the Emperor and great friends of the Grand Duke, 
and the same can be said of the poor Prince de la 
Paz. If he could speak, he could give proofs of 
this, and even in the state in which he now is he 
does nothing but call for his great friend, the 
Grand Duke. 

" We beg the Grand Duke to save the Prince 
de la Paz, and that, whilst saving us, he will 
always allow him to be with us, so that we can 
pass the rest of our days quietly together in a 
warmer climate, without intrigues and without 
commands, but with honour. 

" This is what the King and I want, and the 
Prince de la Paz equally so. He would be always 
ready to serve my son in everything. But my 
son has no character whatever, and much less 
that of sincerity ; he never liked him, and he always 
declared war against him, as he has against the 
King, his father, and me. 

" His ambition is great, and he regards his 
parents as if they were not so. What will he do 
to others ? If the Grand Duke could see us, it 
would give great pleasure to us, and also to his 
friend, the Prince de la Paz, who suffers for having 
been always attached to the French and the 
Emperor. All our hope is in the Grand Duke, to 

33 c 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

whom we also commend our poor daughter Maria 
Luisa, who is not loved by her brother. With 
this hope we are about to take our journey. 

" LUISA."* 

A few remarks on this favourite daughter of 
Queen Maria Luisa may not be amiss. Maria 
Luisa of Bourbon, Queen of Etruria, was only 
fifteen years of age when the eldest son of the 
Duke of Parma came to Madrid and married her. 
The Prince had come to Spain for the purpose of 
marrying her sister, Maria Amalia ; but, as this 
Princess was silent and reserved, the bridegroom- 
elect showed his preference for her sister, and, 
as Godoy favoured this change of arrangements, 
Prince Louis wedded Maria Luisa, although the 
originally destined bride had evidently been 
favourably inclined to him. 

In 1801 Napoleon Bonaparte arranged for 
Tuscany, under the name of the kingdom of 
Etruria, to be given to the Spanish Princess and 
her husband, who was called Louis I. But the 
people never took to their new rulers, and the 
French did not evacuate the place. 

In 1802 the King and Queen of Etruria went to 
Spain to be present at the marriage of Ferdinand 
with Maria Antonia of Naples, and that of her 
brother, the heir of the Two Sicilies, with the 
Infanta Maria Isabel ; and this sister of Prince 
Ferdinand became subsequently the mother of 
his fourth wife, Queen Maria Cristina, mother of 
Isabella II. 

* " Memorias de Don Juan Nellerto " (Llorente), tomo 2. 



To j ace page 34 

The Overthrow of Godoy 

On this journey to Spain the young King of 
Etruria died of brain disease, and the Queen 
became, by the will of her late husband, Regent 
for her little son, who was crowned Louis II. of 
Etruria. But Napoleon deprived the royal lady 
of her kingdom in virtue of the Treaty of Fon- 
tainebleau in 1807 ; and when the Queen came 
to Spain and joined her petitions to those of her 
mother in the correspondence to Murat and 
Napoleon, she never returned to her kingdom, 
which was taken from her with the promise of 
having Portugal in return. 

When Napoleon heard of the revolution of 
Aranjuez, he said to the Duke of Rovigo : "I 
never thought of such a thing ; matters have taken 
an unexpected turn. I know that the father is 
right in accusing the son of conspiring against the 
throne ; this fact will unmask the son, and it will 
never be approved. When Charles IV. abdicated, 
he was not contented with a written declaration ; 
he confirmed it with the ceremonies customary for 
such occasions, he renewed it various times, and 
he did not abandon the reins of the government 
until he had given solemn assurance of his wish to 
do so."* 

Once on the throne, Ferdinand VII. sent for 
the persons who had taken part in the Escorial 
.conspiracy. Don Miguel Jose de Azanza, the 
ex- Viceroy of Mexico, was made Minister of the 
Interior instead of Miguel Cartegano Soler, and 
Pedro Ceballos, who had married Godoy's cousin, 
and who had worked for the ruin of the dethroned 
* " Memoires du Due de Rovigo," vol. iii., p. 250. 
35 c 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

King, was retained in his position as Minister of 
Foreign Affairs by a special royal decree. 

The celebrated litterateur Caspar Melchor de 
Jovellanos also returned to Court. 

But the man who was most triumphant was 
Ferdinand's old tutor, Don Juan Escoiquiz. His 
wish was fulfilled he was a power at Court, and 
he was decorated with the Cross of Carlos III. 

Moreover, the Duke of San Carlos, spoken of 
by Maria Luisa in her correspondence as the 
falsest of all, was made chief Mayordomo of the 
palace. In fact, all who had played any part in 
the Escorial affair were exalted, whereas those 
who had pleased Godoy by their capacities or 
virtues were proscribed and persecuted. Among 
these were the Duke of Almodovar, brother of the 
Prince de la Paz, Viguri the Intendant, Norrega 
the Treasurer, Marquina the Corregidor of Madrid, 
the litterateur Escala, and the Fiscal Viegas, who 
had demanded penal punishment for criminals in 
the Escorial matter. The property of all the above- 
mentioned men was confiscated, and Godoy himself 
was taken from Aranj uez to the Castle of Villa viciosa . 

The government was practically in the hands 
of the Dukes of Infantado and San Carlos and the 
Councillor Escoiquiz. The opinions and character 
of the latter are well known. He was utterly 
disingenuous, and he was expert in the science of 
intrigue, which had played such a part in the ante- 
chamber of the palace. But for really ruling the 
affairs of a kingdom he was quite incompetent, and 
was only conspicuous for his want of knowledge 
and his mean spirit. Apart from his artifice in 


The Overthrow of Godoy 

conspiracies, the character of this Archdeacon of 
Alcariz was seen in the pamphlet he published in 
defence of the Inquisition. San Carlos shamefully 
maligned Maria Luisa and the Prince de la Paz, 
albeit he was proud of being related to the favour- 
ite. Infantado was destitute of any consistency 
in government except when it savoured of persecu- 
tion and oppression. 

The three statesmen were united in one desire, 
and that was the marriage of Ferdinand with one 
of the Bonaparte family ; and they all shared the 
people's joy at the entrance of Murat, Grand 
Duke of Berg, in Madrid on March 23. The 
townsfolk were mad with delight, for they regarded 
the French as supporters of their idol Ferdinand, 
and sharers of their joy in the state entry of the 
young King into the capital. 

The function was indeed a brilliant sight, and 
the Sovereign, crowned with the rich diadem of 
the two worlds, roused so much enthusiasm that 
it took him six hours to* pass from the Gate of 
Atocha to the palace. The roar of the cannon, 
the peal of the bells, the clamour of the cheers, 
were indeed deafening, and the men laid down 
their cloaks for the King to pass over, and the 
women waved their pocket-handkerchiefs. 

The Grand Duke of Berg unfortunately gave 
rein to his pride, and wounded the Spaniards 
in their tenderest sensibility by sending French 
troops to line part of the route of the royal entry, 
leaving his house in the Buen Retiro for that of 
the Prince de la Paz, and taking possession of the 
Casa de Campo. 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Napoleon himself regretted this conduct, and 
we find him saying in the " Memorial of St. 
Helena/' published in 1826 : 

' The plan more worthy of me, and the safest, 
would have been a sort of mediation, like that of 
Switzerland. I ought to have given a liberal 
constitution to the Spanish nation, and seen that 
Ferdinand put it in practice. If that had been 
done in good faith, and if Spain had prospered 
with our new customs, France would have gained 
a close ally, and a truly formidable increase to 
its power. If Ferdinand, on the contrary, failed 
in his new duties, the Spaniards themselves would 
soon have come to beg for another King/ 1 

Murat, with his misleading pictures of a country 
which he did not know, tickled the conqueror's 
ambition, and this resulted in Napoleon writ- 
ing to his brother Louis, who was then in 
Holland : 

" Being concerned that I shall have no solid 
peace with England without giving a great im- 
pulsion to the Continent, I have decided to put a 
French Prince on the throne of Spain/'* 

Murat' s power was mainly due to the reports 
which had reached Spain of his great feats of 
arms, and the priests had admired Napoleon as 
the restorer of the churches in France ; but Murat 
had not counted on the revulsion of feeling which 
ensued when the Spaniards found that the soldiers 
of their ally were impregnated with the doctrines 
of Voltaire and Rousseau, and as the imprudence, 

* " Des Documents Historiques publics par Louis Bona- 
parte," Paris, 1820. 


The Overthrow of Godoy 

,,.... .. . . .. . . -.....-... ...... 

of the French fanned the flame of suspicion it 
gradually worked up to a fire of fanaticism. 

But the Emperor was quite firm in the idea of 
his imperial hand wielding the Spanish sceptre, 
so he sent for Izquierdo, and asked him if the 
Spaniards would not be glad to have him as their 

" Very/' returned Izquierdo, " if Your Majesty 
will first renounce the diadem of France/' 

Bonaparte did not feel flattered at the Spaniard's 
reply, but, anxious to set the affairs straight in 
the Peninsula, he left Paris for Bordeaux on 
April 2. 

In the meanwhile Maria Luisa and her husband 
had been highly pleased at the arrival of Murat 
at the Court. The unhappy Sovereigns had been 
treated with the greatest disrespect by their son 
since his accession to the throne. They were told 
to go to Badajoz, in spite of their protestations of 
the unsuit ability of the climate to their ailments. 
They were full of fears that the people's rage 
would lead any moment to the death of their 
idolized Godoy. Misfortune seemed imminent at 
any moment, and poor Charles, with his rheumatic 
pains, and unable even to count upon his royal 
income, was in a sad state of depression when 
the news of Murat' s installation in the palatial 
abode of the fallen favourite inspired them with 

Neither the Grand Duke of Berg nor the Am- 
bassador Beauharnais had recognized the son as 
King, although all the rest of the diplomatic corps 
had done so ; so, encouraged by this fact, they 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

wrote to Murat through the medium of their 
daughter, the Queen of Etruria. The perusal of 
this correspondence gives an idea of the humilia- 
tion of Charles IV. and his Queen, for, as the Duke 
of Rovigo says : 

" The letters of the royal parents show their 
consternation and depression, and the violence 
must have been very great for them to be in fear 
of their lives, and to implore a retreat which 
would suit their health, and where they could 
spend the rest of their days in safety/'* 

The picture of her son drawn by the Queen is 
worthy of the study of the historian ; for the 
remarks scattered through the various letters run 
thus : 

" From Ferdinand we have nothing to expect 
but misery and persecution. He has formed this 
conspiracy to dethrone the King his father ; he 
has no character whatever, much less that of 
sincerity ; he is false and cruel ; his ambition is 
limitless, and he does not treat his father and 
mother like parents. Nothing affects him. He 
is unfeeling, and not inclined to clemency ; he 
promises, but he never fulfils his promises ; he 
does not care for the Grand Duke or the Emperor ; 
he only cares for despotism ; he has a very bad 
heart ; he has never professed affection either for 
his father or for me ; his councillors are blood- 
thirsty, and love to do harm to everybody, not 
excepting the father and mother. " 

These remarks of the Queen-mother are sup- 
ported by that of the father, who said in his letter 
* " Memoires du Due de Rovigo." 

The Overthrow of Godoy 

to Napoleon that " he found himself in the neces- 
sity of choosing between life and death." 

And it was in this state of affairs that Maria 
Luisa commenced her correspondence with the 
Duke of Berg by the following note, sent through 
her daughter, the Queen of Etruria : 

' The King, my husband (who makes me write, 
as the pains in his hand prevent his doing so), is 
anxious to know if the Grand Duke of Berg will 
undertake to treat efficaciously with the Emperor 
for the preservation of the life of the Prince de la 
Paz, with the assistance of some of his employes 
or chaplains. He is anxious to know if the Grand 
Duke can go and release him, or at least give him 
some counsel, for he puts all his hope in the Grand 
Duke of Berg, his great friend. He hopes all from 
His Highness, to whom he has always been 

' Therefore the Grand Duke will perhaps 
arrange with the Emperor for sufficient supplies 
to be granted to the King, my husband, and me, 
and the Prince de la Paz, for us to live together 
where it suits our health, and where we have 
neither commands nor intrigues. 

' The Emperor is generous, he is a hero, and he 
has always helped his faithful allies, and even 
those that are persecuted ; and nobody is so much 
so as we are and why ? Because we have always 
been faithful to the alliance. 

" Of my son we can expect nothing but misery 
jand persecutions. He began by inventing, and 
! he will go on by inventing all that he can to make 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

the Prince de la Paz (the innocent and attached 
friend of the Emperor, the Grand Duke, and 
all the French) appear criminal in the eyes 
of the public and the Emperor. You must 
believe nothing. Enemies have the power and 
all the means of justifying as true all that is 

" The King desires, as I do, to see and talk with 
the Grand Duke, and make the protest which it 
is in his power to make. We are both grateful to 
you for sending your troops, and for all the proofs 
you give us of your friendship. Your Highness 
must well know the friendship we have always 
had and have for yourself. We put ourselves in 
your hands and in those of the Emperor, and trust 
that he will grant our request. 

' These our desires we place in the hands of 
such a great and generous ruler and hero." 

On March 22 the Queen of Etruria also wrote to 
Murat in intercession for the unhappy prisoner, 
who, she says, " invoked incessantly the terrible 
moment of his death. 

Charles IV. added to his daughter's letter fresh 
pleas to be allowed to go to a country which would 
suit him better, with the Prince de la Paz, and his 
wife added her request to be allowed to finish her 
days in tranquillity in a climate favourable to the 
delicate state of their health. 

On the 26th Maria Luisa sent her daughter the 
before-mentioned letter, giving the account of 
the affair of Aranjuez, and this the Queen of 
Etruria sent to Murat with this letter : 


The Overthrow of Godoy 


" My mother sends me the enclosed letter 
for me to forward to you to keep. Do us the 
kindness, dear sir, not to abandon us. All our 
hopes are in you. Give me the comfort of your 
going to see my parents. Reply something to 
cheer me, and do not forget a friend who loves 
you from her heart. 


" P.S. I am ill in bed with a touch of fever, 
which prevents my leaving my room." 

Murat then sent General Monthion, the head of 
the royal staff, to Aranjuez to ascertain the truth 
about the King's abdication, and it was then that 
Charles sent his letter and protest to Napoleon. 

In handing the letter to the French General, the 
King said : 

My position is of the saddest. They have 
taken off the Prince de la Paz, and will, I believe, 
kill him." 


" You will doubtless have heard with regret 
of the events at Aranjuez and their results, and 
you will not view with indifference a King forced 
to renounce his crown and put himself in the 
hands of the great monarch, his ally, whilst placing 
himself entirely at the disposition of the only 
person who can afford felicity to himself, his 
family, and his faithful vassals. 

I have only abdicated in favour of my son by 
force of circumstances, when the clash of arms 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

and the clamours of an insurrected garrison made 
me know what it was to choose between life and 
death, and my death would have been followed 
by that of the Queen. 

" I was forced to abdicate, but I was reassured 
by my complete confidence in the magnanimity 
and genius of the great man who has always shown 
himself my friend. I determined to conform to 
whatever the same great man may demand of 
us myself, the Queen, and the Prince de la 

" I therefore address to Your Imperial Majesty 
a protest against the events of Aranjuez and 
against my abdication. I throw myself entirely 
upon the heart and friendship of Your Majesty, 
trusting that God will keep you in His safe and 
worthy keeping. 

" I am, Your Imperial Majesty's 
" Most affectionate Brother and Friend, 


The Queen's daughter also wrote to Murat : 


" I have just seen your esteemed com- 
mander, who has given me your letter, by which 
I regret to find that my father and mother have 
not had the pleasure of seeing you, although they 
wish it so much, as all their hope is placed in you, 
who they trust will restore them tranquillity. 

" The poor Prince de la Paz is covered with 
wounds and contusions, and is cast into prison, 
where he constantly invokes the terrible moment 


The Overthrow of Godoy 

of his death. He thinks of nobody but his friend 
the Grand Duke of Berg, and says he is the only 
person to whom he looks for his salvation. 

" My father, mother, and I have talked with 
your respected commander. He will tell you all. 
I trust in your friendship, and that by that you 
will save us all three and the poor prisoner. 

" I have not time to say more, but I trust in 
you. My father will add two lines to this letter. 

" I am, from my heart, 
1 Your most affectionate Sister and Friend, 


To this letter Carlos IV. added a postscript : 


f< Having talked to your worthy com- 
mander, and informed him of all that has hap- 
pened, I beg you to tell the Emperor that I intreat 
him to set free the poor Prince de la Paz, who 
only suffers from having been a friend of France, 
and at the same time beg of him to let us go to a 
place which will suit us, and take with us the same 
Prince. We are going now to Badajoz. I beg 
your reply before then, in case we are absolutely 
left without means of seeing each other, for my 
life is only in you and in the Emperor. In the 
meanwhile I am, 

' Your very affectionate Brother and Friend, 


The General was also given a letter from the 
Queen to Murat, which ran thus : 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 


: ' I have no friend but Your Highness. 
The King, my beloved husband, writes to you 
imploring your friendship, for in that lies our 
only hope. We both beg of you to prove you are 
our friend by informing the Emperor of our sincere 
friendship, and of the affection we have always 
professed for him, you, and all the French. 

" Poor Prince de la Paz, who is wounded and 
imprisoned for being our friend, is passionately 
attached to all France, and he is suffering now for 
having desired the arrival of your troops, and for 
having been our only permanent friend. He would 
have gone to see you had he been free, and now he 
does not cease to speak of you and express his desire 
to see the Emperor. Help us to end our days 
quietly in a place suitable to the health of the King, 
which, like mine, is delicate, and let it be in company 
with our friend, who is also that of Your Highness. 

" My daughter will be my interpreter if I do 
not have the satisfaction of knowing Your High- 
ness personally and talking to you. Could you 
make an effort to see us, if only for a minute, by 
night or when you like ? Your worthy officer will 
tell you all we have said. 

" I hope you will be able to manage what we 
want, and that you will pardon all the slips and 
omissions in the matter, for I do not know where 
I am, and you must believe that this has been 
from no slight to you nor lack. 

" May you live many years ! 

" Your most affectionate 

" LUISA." 


The Overthrow of Godoy 

The Queen became quite desperate as the days 
went by, bringing no definite help from the Grand 
Duke of Berg, and in one of her letters to her 
daughter she writes : 

" If the Grand Duke does not see that the Em- 
peror gives orders for the stoppage of the intrigues 
against his friend the Prince de la Paz, against me 
and my daughter, none of us will be safe. All the 
malevolent people get round my son, and he 
believes them like oracles, and on his own part he 
is not very inclined to magnanimity and clemency. 
He must expect sad results from all this. I and 
my husband think that, if my son sees the Emperor 
before he has given his orders, he and those with 
him will tell him so many lies that he will doubt 
the truth. For this reason we would beg the 
Grand Duke to let the Emperor know that we are 
absolutely in his hands, hoping he will give tran- 
quillity to the King, my husband, me, and the 
Prince de la Paz, whom we desire to have with us, 
and end our days peacefully in a place suited to 
our health without giving the least trouble to any- 
body. We urgently beg the Grand Duke to let 
us have daily news of our mutual friend, the 
Prince de la Paz, because we know absolutely 

The King added the following words in his own 
handwriting : 

" I asked the Queen to write this, as my pains 
prevent my writing much." 

The next letter from the Queen of Spain to her 
daughter for the Grand Duke of Berg is without 
a date : 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

' The King, my husband, and I do not wish to 
be importunate nor troublesome to the Grand 
Duke, who has so much to do ; but we have no 
other friend but him and the Emperor, and in 
him rest the hopes of the King, those of the Prince 
de la Paz, the friend of the Grand Duke and our 
own intimate one, and those of my daughter and 
myself. My daughter wrote me yesterday after- 
noon what the Grand Duke had said, and our 
hearts are filled with gratitude and comfort, 
hoping for all that is good from the sacred and 
incomparable personages of the Emperor and 
Grand Duke. But we do not want him to be 
ignorant of what we know in spite of nobody 
telling us anything or answering our questions, 
important as it was for us to have a reply. How- 
ever, we regard it all with indifference, and the 
only thing which interests us is the welfare of our 
only and innocent friend, the Prince de la Paz, 
who is also the Grand Duke's, as he exclaimed in 
his prison in the midst of the horrible treatment 
to which he was exposed; for he always called the 
Grand Duke his friend, as he did before the con- 
spiracy, and he says constantly : ' If I could only 
have the good fortune for the Grand Duke to come 
here, I should have nothing to fear/ 

" He wanted you to come to the Court, and he 
was flattered by the pleasure the Grand Duke 
showed in accepting his house as a dwelling. He 
had some presents ready to give you, and he 
thought of nothing but the moment when he could 
present himself to the Emperor and the Grand 
Duke with all imaginable ardour. But now we 


The Overthrow of Godoy 

are in continual fear that he will take his life, or 
that he will be more closely imprisoned if his 
enemies know that there is a question of his being 
saved. Would it not be possible to take some 
precautionary measures before the definitive resolu- 
tion ? The Grand Duke could send some troops 
without saying why. Could they not come to the 
prison and disperse the guard over him, without 
giving it time to fire a shot or do anything against 
the Prince ? For there is reason to fear that it 
would do so, as they all know his wish to die, and 
they would glory in killing him. So the guard 
could be absolutely under the command of the 
Grand Duke ; and if not, the Grand Duke can be 
sure that the Prince de la Paz will die if he con- 
tinue in the power of the worthless traitors and 
in the hands of my son. Hence we repeat the 
plea that he should be removed from the power 
of the bloodthirsty gardes de corps, my son, and 
^his evil companions ; for we are in continual fear 
f of his life, although the Emperor and the Grand 
to Djike wish to save him. We repeat, therefore, the 
OTtreaty that the Grand Duke should take every 
measure for this object, because if time be lost 
his life is not safe, as it would certainly be easier 
to protect the Prince in the midst of carnivorous 
lions and tigers. 

" After dinner yesterday, my son was with 
Infantado, Escoiquiz, who is a malignant cleric, 
and San Carlos, who is worse than all ; and this 
makes us tremble, as the secret conference lasted 
from half-past one till half-past three. The 
gentil hombre who is with my son Charles is a 

49 D 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

cousin of San Carlos ; he has talent and some 
learning, but he is a malignant American and a 
great enemy of ours, like his cousin San Carlos, 
in spite of all they have received from the King, 
my husband, at the request of the Prince de la 
Paz, to whom they say they are related. All those 
who are with my son Charles are mixed up in the 
same intrigue, and inclined to do all possible 
harm, and what is reported as true is the greatest 

" I hope the Grand Duke will pardon all my 
blunders and mistakes when I write French, as 
it is forty-two years since I came to Spain at 
thirteen and a half years of age, so, although I 
speak French, I do not speak it well. 

" The Grand Duke will know what helps me, and 
will pardon all my faults of the language. 

" LUISA." 

Ferdinand, in his blind belief in Escoiquiz, dis- 
regarded the counsel of other men, and, as Escoiquiz 
only thought of conciliating the Corsican so as to 
advance his plan of Ferdinand's union with a 
member of the House of Bonaparte, the power of 
the French increased daily. 

It was believed that all the intrigues of Beau- 
harnais were only to keep the sceptre in the hand 
which held it, and the silly credulity on the part of 
Escoiquiz was the chief cause of the consequent 

To a genius like Napoleon the situation of Spain 
was an easy prey to his ambition, and its state of 
submission to the French was seen in the fact of 

The Overthrow of Godoy 

Caballero conforming to Murat's desire to become 
the possessor of the sword which was surrendered 
to Charles V. by Francis I. of France after the 
Battle of Pavia. 

The function in which Spain lost this heirloom 
is described in the Gaceta de Madrid of April 5, 
1808. The sword was borne in state to the 
Grand Duke's house. It was placed on a silver 
tray covered with a puce-coloured silk cloth 
trimmed with a wide bright fringe, and Don Carlos 
Montarges, the honorary Chief Armourer, and his 
attendant, Don Manuel Trotier, went in the gala 
carriage with the trophy. The carriage was drawn 
by mules in gala attire, and three royal lackeys 
in full livery walked by the side of each. In the 
other carriage, also drawn by four mules and 
accompanied by lackeys, came the Duke del 
Parque. The sword was borne into Murat's 
presence by the two armourers, and, after giving 
him the King's letter, they solemnly presented him 
with the historic weapon, which was received with i ' 
many expressions of thanks. 

Murat now set no bounds to his ambitious aims, 
especially as he knew that his brother-in-law had 
decided on the dethronement of the Bourbons in 
Spain. So, dazzled by the brilliance of his posi- 
tion, he precipitated matters by his intrigues. He 
suggested the advisability of the Infante Don 
Carlos going to meet Napoleon as far as Burgos, 
so this journey of the Spanish Prince was arranged, 
Pedro Macanaz and Don Pascual Vallejo being in 

As Napoleon did not trust entirely to the per- 

51 D 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

ceptions of Murat, he sent the astute Savary to 
reconnoitre the state of affairs in Madrid. The 
clever Frenchman was as successful in Spain as 
he had been in Russia, and it was soon arranged 
for Ferdinand to take the undignified course of 
going to meet Bonaparte at Burgos, for Escoiquiz 
thought that it would gain the favour of the great 

Before starting, Ferdinand wrote to his father 
begging for a letter in which he would assure 
Napoleon that he (Ferdinand) professed the same 
sentiments of friendship with the French as his 
father. The reply to this request came from the 
Queen, and she said that the pains in the King's 
hand prevented his writing himself, but she had 
written to the Grand Duke of Berg saying that the 
desired letter had not been sent because they 
knew that Ferdinand had no love for France. 




As Napoleon was not quite satisfied with Murat's 
reports, he determined to go himself to Spain, and 
Ferdinand was advised by Escoiquiz to go to 
Bayonne to meet the Emperor. After holding a 
council on the subject at Vittoria in the bedroom 
of Escoiquiz, who was ill, Ferdinand wrote a 
humble letter to the Emperor, promising to go 
and meet him, in spite of Savary's objections to 
the want of dignity in the suggested proceeding. 
In his letter to Napoleon, Ferdinand declared that 
he had been raised to the throne by the free and 
spontaneous abdication of his father, and to this 
epistle the Emperor replied :* 


"April 1 6, 1808. 


""I have received the letter of Your Royal 
Highness. You will have seen by your father's 
papers what an interest I have always shown in 
him, so you will allow me now to speak to you with 
frankness and loyalty. 

* Published in the Monitcuv in 1808. 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

" I had hoped to come to Madrid and persuade 
my august friend to make certain necessary 
reforms in his dominions which would give public 
satisfaction. The separation of His Majesty from 
the Prince of the Peace seemed to me absolutely 
necessary for his happiness and that of his vassals. 
Events in the North retarded my journey, and the 
occurrences of Aranjuez have intervened. 

" I do not constitute myself a judge of what 
happened, or of the conduct of the Prince of 
the Peace ; but I know very well that it is very 
dangerous to Kings for the people to become 
accustomed to shedding blood in their own 
attempts to obtain justice. God grant that Your 
Highness may not find it so yourself ! It would 
not be for the interest of Spain to persecute a 
Prince who has married a Princess of the Royal 
Family, and who has so long governed the kingdom. 
He has no friends already, and Your Highness will 
have none, either, if you come to be disgraced one 
day, for people like to avenge themselves for the 
respect they have had to show us. 4 

" Moreover, how could a Cause be framed against 
the Prince of the Peace without framing it also 
against the King and Queen, your parents ? 
This Cause would foment hate and seditious 
passions, and the result would be fatal to the 
crown. To this crown Your Royal Highness has 
no rights beyond those transmitted by your 
mother. If the Cause soils her honour, Your 
Highness destroys your own rights. Do not listen 
to weak, perfidious counsels. Your Highness has 
no right to judge the Prince of the Peace ; the 


How Napoleon Checkmated the Royal Family 

sins which are imputed to him disappear in the 
rights of the throne. 

" I have often expressed my wish for the Prince 
of the Peace to be removed from affairs. If I 
have not been more insistent, it has been because 
my friendship for King Charles overlooked the 
weakness of his affection. Oh, miserable 
humanity ! Weakness and error are our lot. 
But all this can be made right if the Prince of the 
Peace is exiled from Spain, and I offer him an 
asylum in France. 

" As the abdication of Charles IV. took place 
at the moment when my armies were occupying 
Spain, it will seem in the eyes of all Europe and 
of posterity that I sent these troops with the sole 
object of dethroning my ally and friend. As a 
Sovereign and a neighbour, I must therefore hear all 
about the event before recognizing the abdication. 

" I tell Your Royal Highness that if the abdica- 
tion of Charles was spontaneous, and he was not 
forced to it by the insurrection and consequent 
meeting in Aranjuez, I have no objection to ad- 
mitting it, and acknowledging Your Royal High- 
ness as King of Spain. I therefore desire to confer 
with Your Royal Highness on this matter. 

* The circumspection I have observed for the 
past month in the matter ought to convince Your 
Highness that you will always have my support 
if factions of any kind disturb you on the throne. 
" When King Charles told me of the recent 
events in October, I flattered myself that I had 
contributed by my entreaties to the peaceful con- 
clusion of the Escorial matter. 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

" Your Highness is not free from faults ; the 
letter you have written me is sufficient to show 
that, and I have always wished to forget it. Being 
a King, you know how sacred are the rights of 
the throne ; any step of an hereditary Prince 
towards a foreign Sovereign is criminal. I 
consider the marriage of a French Princess with 
Your Royal Highness would be conformable to 
the interests of my people, and, above all, as a 
circumstance which will unite me by fresh bonds 
to a house which I have had every wish to honour 
ever since I ascended the throne. 

" Your Royal Highness ought to beware of the 
consequences of popular insurrections ; you might 
be able to make an assault on my scattered 
soldiers, but it would only lead to the ruin of Spain. 

" I have seen with regret some letters from the 
Captain-General of Catalonia which tried to rouse 
the people. 

" Your Royal Highness knows all the depth of 
my heart ; you will observe that I am full of many 
ideas which require consideration ; but you can be 
sure that in any case I shall behave to you as I 
have to the King your father. 

" Your Royal Highness must be assured of my 
desire to conciliate matters, and to find occasions 
of giving you proofs of my affection and perfect 

" May God have you in His holy and worthy 
keeping ! 


* From the " Memorias " of Nellerto and the " Manifesta- 
tion " of Don Pedro Caballos. 


[ow Napoleon L Checkmated the Royal Family 

The King, oblivious of the veiled insult of the 
Emperor, that he had no right to the throne beyond 
that transmitted by his mother, still cringed to the 

frenchman, and wrote : 
"April 18, 1808. 
" I have received with great satisfaction 
your letter of the i6th, sent by General Savary. 
The confidence with which Your Majesty inspires 
me, and my desire to show you that my father's 
abdication was the consequence of his own 
impulse, have decided me to go immediately to 
Bayonne. I hope therefore to leave to-morrow 
for Irun, proceeding thence to the country-seat 
of Marrae, where Your Majesty is. 

" I am, my good Brother, with the highest 
esteem and sincerest affection, 


When Ferdinand arrived at Bayonne, the Em- 
peror went to see him at once, and Ferdinand went 
down to the door to meet him. The interview 
was short, but the Spanish King was invited to 
dinner that night. It was noticeable that, al- 
though Napoleon was very friendly, he never 
addressed his guest as " Majesty " ; and hardly 
was Ferdinand back in his rooms, when a message 
was conveyed to him by Savary to the effect that 
the Emperor had determined that the Bourbons 
should not return to the throne of Spain, and that, 
as he had determined to put a French Prince upon 
the throne, he required the son of Charles IV. to 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

renounce the diadem of both worlds in his own 
name and in that of all his family. 

Pedro Caballos was loud in his indignation at 
such usurpation, when Napoleon, who had heard 
his remarks from the next room, entered the 
apartment, upbraided him for his treachery to 
Charles, and declined to enter further into the 
matter until Ferdinand's father was there to speak 
for himself. 

After Charles had sent Napoleon a protest 
against his abdication, he concentrated all his 
efforts on gaining the liberty of the Prince of the 
Peace. Indeed, the old man seemed more upset 
at the risks run by his ex-Minister than he was at 
the treatment he had himself received. 

Pursuant to Murat's advice, Charles and his 
wife repaired to the Escorial, and there, in this 
imposing but gloomy abode, they brooded over 
the turn in their affairs until despair filled their 
hearts. I 

Murat, faithful to the promise made to Charles 
in the presence of the Queen of Etruria on the 
eve of his departure for the Escorial, did his best 
for the dethroned Sovereigns, and persuaded the 
Union to depute him to accompany them to 
Bayonne to take part in the conference with 
Napoleon. The fact of Godoy being in Bayonne 
was another reason for the royal couple to wish 
to go there, as they had not seen him since his 
release from captivity. The following letter, 
which the King wrote to Napoleon announcing 
his departure for Bayonne, shows the esteem in 
which they held Bonaparte : 


tow Napoleon L Checkmated the Royal Family 


" April 25, 1808. 


" A prey to rheumatic pains in my hands 
and knees, I should be completely miserable were 
not my troubles alleviated by the hope of seeing 
you in a few days. I cannot hold a pen, so I beg 
of Your Majesty to pardon my not writing with 
my own hand to express the great pleasure I have 
in going to enjoy your generous kindness, for I 
am obliged to use a secretary. 

" The Queen also writes to Your Imperial 
Majesty, and we beg you to accept our united 
sentiments of love and confidence. 

" Your protection is balm to the wounds of my 
heart, and I feel that the moment in which I shall 
find myself in your arms will be one of the happiest 
of my life, and the first, after all that has happened, 
on which I shall feel sure of my existence. 
" May my wishes be fulfilled ! 

" My sir and Brother, 
" I am, Your Imperial Majesty's faithful 
Ally and Friend, 


The Queen's letter to Napoleon ran thus : 


" I should have written before to Your 
Imperial Majesty if the trying situation in which 
we undertook the journey had not presented so 
many obstacles. We have now just arrived at 

* Published in the Moniteur, 1810. 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Aranda of Duero. The King is in a terrible state. 
He is troubled with rheumatic pains in his hands 
and knees, but, in spite of all, we are longing for 
the happy moment of throwing ourselves into the 
arms of Your Imperial Majesty, whose great 
generosity is beyond all expressions of our grati- 

' We ought to have arrived at Bayonne before 
now, but, unfortunately, circumstances do not 
correspond with our ardent desires, because my 
son's journey has left us without horses, money, 
and all other necessaries. Heaven grant that the 
moment of our interview will be as interesting to 
Your Imperial Majesty as it will be to us, your 
faithful, worthy friends ! We are quite sure of 
the protection of Your Majesty, and nothing in the 
world can compare with the complete and sweet 
confidence which leads us to place our fate under 
the most powerful protection of Your Majesty, 
whose immutable equity is so great, as the critic 
of the situation of his faithful friend and ally, 
since the unhappy epoch of the unheard-of events 
at Aranjuez. 

" If Your Majesty's troops had arrived then, 
they would have protected our legitimate rights 
as their great captain deigns to do, but Heaven 
sent us calamities which came like thunderbolts 
because we had no help, nor had we anyone to 
support us. 

" I do not know what day we shall arrive at 
Bayonne, because^ if the King's indisposition 
permit it, we hope to take double journeys every 
day. Your Imperial Majesty may be sure that 


tow Napoleon L Checkmated the Royal Family 

we shall fly to your arms, so great is our desire to 
strengthen the sweet ties of alliance and friendship. 
" May God have you in His safe keeping ! 

" Sir and Brother, 

" I am, Your Imperial Majesty's most 
affectionate Sister, 

" LUISA." 

The affectionate tone of these royal letters 
shows that the royal couple thought that Napoleon 
was about to restore to them the sceptre which had 
been torn from their hands. 

When the King and Queen arrived at Villareal, 
they asked what reports were circulated about 
affairs, and the Duke of Mahon replied : "It is 
said that the Emperor of the French is calling the 
Royal Family of Spain together at Bayonne in order 
to deprive them of the throne." 

The Queen looked surprised, but she thought for 
a moment, and then said : 

" Napoleon has always been a great enemy of 
our family. Nevertheless, he has made Charles 
repeated promises to protect him, and I cannot 
believe he is now acting with such scandalous 

The royal arrival at Bayonne was announced 
by a salute of 101 guns, the garrison lined the 
streets, and Charles, on dismounting from his 
carriage, showed his pleasure at the reception 
vouchsafed to him by talking even to those he 
did not know. 

A shadow came over the King's genial counte- 
nance when he saw Ferdinand standing with his 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

brother at the foot of the staircase, and it was only 
the younger Prince who was given a cordial 
" Good-day " by the King, and who was embraced 
fondly by his mother. Although Ferdinand saw 
that he was ignored, he made a step forward to 
greet his parents. But Charles stopped, made a 
movement of indignation, and began mounting 
the stairs with a severe face. The Queen, however, 
who was behind, could not forget that she was a 
mother, and folded her treacherous son to her 

Then the Princes repaired to their apartments, 
and their parents hastened to greet the exile Godoy 
with tears of joy. 

The Emperor of the French lost no time in pay- 
ing his respects to the royal travellers, but he did 
not ask them to dinner until the following day. 

As Charles's rheumatism gave him some diffi- 
culty in mounting the stairs of the imperial abode, 
he gladly accepted Napoleon's arm, saying : " I 
have not the strength that I had. It has been all 
knocked out of me." 

" We will soon see about that/' returned the 
Emperor. " Lean on me, and I will find strength 
for both." 

Thereupon the King stopped, and said emphati- 
cally : " So I believe, and I base all my hopes upon 

On taking their seats at the table, Charles noticed 
the absence of Godoy, and he exclaimed with 
tender concern : " And Manuel ? Where is 
Manuel ?" 

So Napoleon, anxious to please his ally, sent for 


How Napoleon L Checkmated the Royal Family 

the Prince of the Peace, and the party was 

At the meeting at which it was hoped Napoleon 
would bring the Royal Family to a satisfactory 
understanding there were very violent scenes. It 
was natural that the sight of their renegade son 
should revive all the bitterness of the King and 
Queen's recent trials, but it was a pity that they 
did not restrain the passions which made them 
lose their royal dignity. 

The Emperor announced that Ferdinand would 
restore on the morrow to His Majesty the crown 
he had snatched from his father's brow. This 
Ferdinand stoutly declared he would not do, and 
Maria Luisa, who had destroyed the proofs of 
her son's guilt in the conspiracy of the Escorial, 
was now so mad with rage that, according to the 
report of Caballero, she cried to the Emperor to 
punish the crimes of her son by committing him 
to prison. 

Ferdinand was silent during the interview, but 
a few hours later he wrote to his father, maintain- 
ing that the abdication had been a fait accompli 
and declaring that he would only give up the 
crown at the request of the Cortes and all the 

To this letter the King replied : 

" MY SON, 

" The perfidious counsels of the people 
about you have brought Spain into a very critical 
condition, and only the Emperor can save it. ... 
You have been too easily led away by the hatred 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

which your late wife had for France, and you have 
thoughtlessly shared her unjust feelings against my 
Ministers, your mother, and myself. 

" I was obliged, in support of my rights as a 
King and a father, to have you arrested, for your 
papers contained proof of your crime. But as I 
am approaching the end of my life, and I was 
miserable at the idea of my son dying in a dungeon, 
I let myself be softened by your mother's tears. 
And yet my subjects have been upset by the 
deceitful courses of the faction you formed, and 
from that time I have had no peace in my life. . . . 

" You introduced disorder into my palace, you 
summoned the Royal Guard against my own 
person. Your father has been your prisoner ; my 
Prime Minister, whom I created and received into 
my family, was covered with blood, and taken 
from one prison to another. ... I am King by 
the right of my fathers. My abdication was due 
to force and violence. I have nothing to accept 
from you, nor can I consent to any meeting or to 
any new and base suggestion on the part of the 
people about you." 

However, Ferdinand was obstinate, and there 
seemed no chance of a peaceful settlement of the 
disgraceful family feud. 

The above letter was dated May 2, 1808, and 
it was on that day that the historic blow was 
struck in Madrid for Spain's emancipation from 
the French. It was the sight of the young In- 
fante Francisco's tears at leaving the Palace of 
Madrid at the call of Napoleon which acted like a 


How Napoleon L Checkmated the Royal Family 

match to gunpowder. The valiant Velarde, Daoiz, 
and Ruiz were martyrs on this occasion, and the 
dramatic way in which the Spaniards always keep 
this anniversary shows that those who struck that 
blow are not forgotten in the land. 

When Charles IV. heard the news of the riot, he 
at once thought that it had been instigated by his 

" Manuel, send for Charles and Ferdinand/' he 
said, in a firm tone. 

Napoleon remained in the room restless and 
gloomy ; Charles and Maria Luisa looked worried 
and anxious. They were all seated when Fer- 
dinand appeared and silently stood alone before 
them, for his brother was ill in bed. 

The King then asked his son if he had heard 
the news from the capital. When Ferdinand 
replied in the negative, Charles returned vehe- 
mently, " Very well, I will tell you," and rapidly 
related what had happened. " Judge, then," he 
added, " if it be possible to persuade me that you 
had no part in this ? And did you hasten your 
miserable associates to dethrone me in order to 
massacre my subjects ? Who advised you to this 
carnage ? Do you only aspire to the glory of a 
tyrant ?" 

The Duke of Rovigo, who gives us this scene in 
his " Memoires," says that he and the other people 
who were listening in the adjoining salon could 
not catch Ferdinand's reply, but they heard the 
Queen exclaim : " Didn't I always presage your 
perdition ? See into what abysses you throw 
yourself and us ! Ah, you would have killed us 

65- E 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

if we had not left Spain ! What ! you have 
made up your mind not to answer ? You do not 
forget your old ways. You never know anything 
when you do something bad." 

During this dialogue Charles IV. angrily moved 
about the cane which he used when walking, and 
he so far forgot his dignity as to raise it in a 
threatening way to his son, in his anger at his 
impenetrable countenance. When Maria Luisa 
finished her diatribe, she lifted her hand as if to 
strike the Prince, but she checked herself in time. 

The final touch to Ferdinand's humiliating 
position was given when the Emperor said in 
cold, clear, chilling tones : 

" Prince, I had formed my resolution from the 
events which brought you to France, and now the 
blood spilt in Madrid confirms my decision. This 
carnage can only be the work of the band which 
calls you chief, and I will never recognize as King 
of Spain one who breaks the old alliance of two 
nations and orders the assassination of the French 
soldiers, whilst asking me to sanction the impious 
act of dethroning your father. Such is the result 
of bad counsels. You are brought to the precipice. 
It is to your father alone that I am in any way 
bound, and if he wish it I will restore him to his 
throne and accompany him to his capital." 

But Charles IV. exclaimed vehemently : " But 
I don't wish it. What could I do in a country 
where they have worked up such passions against 
me? And I, who have always rejoiced at seeing 
my country peaceful in the midst of the upset of 
Europe I should dishonour my old age if I made 


How Napoleon L Checkmated the Royal Family 

war in the provinces and condemned my subjects 
to prison. No, no ; I don't wish it. My son will 
undertake it with more pleasure than I." Then, 
ooking at Ferdinand with majesty mingled with 
:>ity, he said : " Do you think it costs nothing to 
reign ? You have followed these perfidious coun- 
sels. I neither aspire to command nor can I do 
anything. Now you must avoid the precipice as 
best you can/' 

As Napoleon told Ferdinand that resistance 
about his resignation was useless, and would only 
make his fate worse, it was agreed that the crown 
should be handed over to France. 

So the Treaty of Bayonne was formally signed 
on May 6 by the Prince of the Peace for Charles IV., 
and by Marshal Duroc for Napoleon, and this step, 
disastrous to the nation, can thus be distinctly 
traced to the family feuds induced by the Queen's 
unbridled passion for the Prince of the Peace. 

Charles had passed the twenty years of his reign 
in a self-indulgent, simple life, and although he 
did nothing to show great devotion to his kingdom, 
he certainly of his own accord would have done 
nothing to disturb its peace. The Count of Toreno 
repeats the account which Charles gave of his 
daily routine to the Emperor : 

" Every day, winter and summer, I hunt till 
twelve o'clock, when I dine. Directly afterwards 
I hunt again till evening. Manuel tells me how 
things are going on, and I go to bed, to begin the 
same life next day, unless there is some important 

With a Sovereign so inert, Godoy did not demur 

67 E 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

on signing the deed of renunciation of the throne, 
and as Escoiquiz sanctioned the deed, it shows that 
he also felt that Ferdinand was but a broken reed. 

After the humiliating events of Bayonne, the 
poor Queen of Etruria sought to return to Etruria, 
but was detained at Nice. Miserable at having 
been obliged to leave her young son ill at Com- 
piegne, she tried to escape to England, but, the 
plot being discovered, one of her two agents was 
shot, the other died in prison, and she herself was 
condemned to confinement in a convent at Rome ; 
so she did not recover her liberty nor see her child 
again until the fall of Napoleon. The Queen's 
claims on Etruria were subsequently nullified by 
the Congress of Vienna, and she had to be contented 
with the nomination of her sons to the dukedom 
of Lucca. 

Although after the Treaty of Bayonne the city 
of Madrid was in the hands of Napoleon Bona- 
parte, the palace could not count the Emperor as 
one of the residents in the palace, for during his 
stay in the Spanish capital he was installed in the 
mansion of the Duque del Infantado at Char- 
martin, and it was from this house that he made 
his entry into Madrid. " Je la tiens en fin cette 
Espagne si desiree," said the French conqueror as 
he passed up the magnificent staircase of the royal 
palace, and placed his hand upon one of the lions 
on the balustrade ; then, as his eyes travelled up 
the matchless marbles and fine panels and pictures 
of the staircase, he turned to his brother Joseph and 
said : " Mon frere, vous serez mieux loge que moi." 

When passing through the magnificent apart- 


How Napoleon I. Checkmated the Royal Family 

ments, he stopped before a portrait of Philip II., 
and after gazing at it for some minutes in silence 
turned away. Who knows what recollections may 
have passed through the conqueror's mind, of 
stories of this Sovereign read in boyhood, and how 
little he had then thought that the throne of this 
King would ever be at his disposal ! 

Thus ended the rapid and only visit of Napoleon 
to the Spanish capital, for he went back to Char- 
martin, and from thence set out for Galicia. 

King Joseph soon found he had a difficult part 
to play at the royal palace as ruler of a foreign 
nation, but, although the Spaniards could not be 
supposed to be fond of him/ tribute was paid to 
the kindness of his heart. After a meeting held 
at the palace to concert steps for dealing with 
the fearful famine which was devastating Madrid, 
the father of Mesoneros Romanos said to his son : 
" Joseph has certainly not lost his head at his 
elevation, neither is he unduly set up by his rank. 
He seemed profoundly moved at the misery of 
the people, and proclaimed his intention to do 
all in his power to assist them. Certainly/' con- 
cluded the speaker, " the man is good. It is only 
a pity he is called Bonaparte !" 

The preference entertained by Joseph Bona- 
parte for a beautiful lady, the Countess Jaruco, 
widow of the Governor of Havana, is well known. 
The lady died, and on the night of her burial her 
body was exhumed (one can imagine by whose 
orders), and was interred under a shady tree in 
her own garden. Joseph subsequently married 
the Countess's daughter by General Merlin. The 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

hatred of the people got on the poor Frenchman's 
nerves, and for the last four years of his en- 
forced reign in Madrid he kept quite in retirement, 
spending a good deal of time in the Casa del 
Campo, to which he passed by a tunnel entrance. 

But it was not very long, as we know, before 
the day came for Joseph to leave Spain. 

" The excitement in our house/' writes Mesoneros 
Romanos, " at the news of the evacuation of the 
royal palace by the French was extreme, and it 
was the same in every Spanish home. The hatred 
of the foreigners who had taken possession of us 
was very deep-rooted, and those who had joined 
the Gallic banner were not safe from actual perse- 

" The shades of a dreadful nightmare were 
passed, and men talked excitedly, and women and 
children laughed for joy. The Virgins del Carmen 
and of the Paloma were promised new robes, an< 
the children ran to light up the altar, backed wit] 
a valuable picture of the Immaculate Conception- 
a relic of the sacking of Godoy's house ; and after 
a Paternoster and a Salve my father said : ' Now 
we must go to bed, for we must be up early to- 
morrow to see the entry of our friends.' 

" By this was meant the Anglo-Spanish army, 
with its chief, Lord Wellington, and the Generals 
Alava, Espafia, and Conde de Amirante. It was 
indeed a fine sight ; the streets were decorated, and 
after a repast served in the Town Hall the Englisl 
Commander-in-Chief appeared at the windows in 
response to the vociferous cheers of the crowds, 
and his speech, which was as cordial as was 


How Napoleon L Checkmated the Royal Family 

compatible with the stiff English manner, was 
received with the enthusiasm of our Southern 

Then Wellington repaired to the royal palace, 
which the municipality had put at his disposal. 
The English General's official proclamation, placed 
at the corners of the streets, struck cold on the 
hearts of the Spaniards, for it savoured more of 
a fierce Murat than of the General of a liberating 
force. The following copy is taken from the only 
remaining one in the archives of the city : 

" The inhabitants of Madrid must remember 
that their primary duty is to maintain order, and 
to render the Allied Armies every assistance in 
their power to continue their operations. 

" The Constitution established by the Cortes 
in the name of H.M. Ferdinand VII. will be pro- 
claimed to-morrow, after which will follow the 
immediate formation of the Government of the 
City according to the form it prescribes. 

" In the meanwhile the existing Authorities will 
continue in the exercise of their functions. 

" Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo" 

It was soon seen that Wellington did not intend 
to rest upon his laurels, for he scoured the rural 
park of the Retiro, where a French detachment 
still lingered, and took 2,000 prisoners and 200 
pieces of artillery. This act completely confirmed 
the confidence of the Spaniards in the English 
commander, and the heads of families eagerly 
repaired to the churches to take the oath of the 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Constitution, which, however, conveyed little to 
them beyond their emancipation from the French 
and the approaching return of King Ferdinand VII. 

It cannot be said that Wellington made himself 
very popular whilst he was at the royal palace. 
He received the attentions showered upon him in 
his cold and stiffly courteous way, and took little 
pains to be cordial with the people of importance 
who called upon him. 

Wellington's fancy to have his portrait painted 
by Goya nearly led to the future hero of Waterloo 
losing his life. 

For, be it known, the illustrious Spanish painter 
was irascible to a degree, the more so that he was 
completely deaf. So when the great General 
made his appearance in the studio on the banks of 
the river Manzanares, the painter's son interpreted 
the Englishman's wishes in deaf and dumb 
language to his father. 

The sittings took place, and the artist worked 
assiduously ; and when he thought the portrait 
was far enough advanced to be seen by the General, 
he placed it before him. But, unfortunately, the 
picture did not please the commander, who 
shrugged his shoulders contemptuously, and said in 
English to his friend that he would not accept 
such a caricature as a gift. General Alava de- 
clined to translate this depreciatory remark ; but 
the artist had noticed the scornful gestures of the 
Englishman, and the son in alarm saw his father 
turn his eyes to the loaded pistols which always lay 
ready to hand on the table. The young man's 
fear was increased when Wellington rose from his 


How Napoleon L Checkmated the Royal Family 

seat in a discourteous way, and put on his hat 
preparatory to departure. Then Goya, enraged 
at the officer's contemptuous manner, seized the 
pistols, and the General clapped his hand to his 

The scene would have ended in a tragedy had 
not Lord Alava assured the irate General that the 
artist was suffering from sudden mental aberra- 
tion, and young Goya restrained his father by force 
from using the deadly weapons. 

Wellington gave a great ball at the Town Hall 
the night before he left Madrid, and with this 
return for the bull-fights, serenades, and fetes, 
which had been given in his honour, he took his 
departure from the Spanish capital. 

The English camp in the Retiro was raised a 
month later by General Hill, and it is a matter 
of regret that the step was accompanied by the 
blowing up of the royal manufactory of porcelain, 
for the fabrication is now extinct. The magnificent 
walls and ceilings of one of the salons of the royal 
palace, decorated with cherubs, fruit, and flowers, 
in this beautiful ware, show that Spain boasted 
an industry which rivalled that of Sevres, Dresden, 
or Worcestershire. 

The reason given for this act of vandalism was 
that the French might have used the building as a 
barrack ; but it did not satisfy the Spanish, who 
could not contain their indignation at the deed, 
which was made worse by the English withdrawing 
to Portugal and leaving the capital. 

Ferdinand, with his usual duplicity, wrote to 
Berthemy from Valengay, where he was practically 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

a prisoner. In this letter he pleaded in a cringing 
way for the protection of Napoleon, who had 
robbed him of his crown. 

" My greatest desire/' he writes, " is to be the 
adopted son of His Majesty the Emperor, our 
Sovereign. I believe I am worthy of this adoption, 
which would make the happiness of my life, by 
reason of my love and affection to the sacred person 
of His Majesty, and by my submission and entire 
obedience to his intentions and desires. 

" Moreover, I am anxious to leave Valengay, for 
this place is in every way disagreeable to us and 
in no way suits us. 

" I am glad to trust in the magnanimity of 
conduct and the generous beneficence which 
always distinguish Your Imperial Majesty, and to 
hope that my ardent desire will be soon fulfilled. 

" Receive, etc., 


When Napoleon decided to publish this corre- 
spondence with Ferdinand, he wrote and asked 
him to send a letter to show that he had his 
authorization for doing so. 

So, before the appearance of the letters in Le 
Moniteur, Ferdinand, in obedience to the imperial 
request, wrote to Napoleon : 


(( c . "Mays, 1810. 


" The letters now published in Le Moniteur 
show the whole world the sentiments of perfect 
love which I entertain for Your Imperial Majesty, 


How Napoleon I, Checkmated the Royal Family 

and the deep desire I cherish of becoming your 
adopted son. The publicity which Your Imperial 
Majesty has deigned to give my letters makes me 
hope that you do not disapprove of my sentiments 
nor of the desire I have formed, and this hope fills 
me with joy. 

' Permit me, sire, to confide to you the thoughts 
of a heart which I do not hesitate to say is worthy 
of your adoption. If Your Imperial Majesty 
would unite me to a French Princess, you would 
fulfil my most ardent wish. By this union, apart 
from my personal happiness, all Europe would 
be convinced of my unalterable respect for the 
will of Your Majesty, and it would see that 
you deign to make some return for such sincere 

" I will venture to add that this union and the 
' sight of my happiness will exercise a beneficial 
effect on the destiny of all Spain, and will rob a 
blind and furious people of the pretext of covering 
a country with blood in the name of a Prince, 
the eldest son of an ancient dynasty, who has, 
by a solemn treaty by his own choice and by 
the most glorious of all adoptions, made him- 
self a French Prince and a son of Your Imperial 

" I venture to hope that such ardent wishes, 
and an affection so absolute, will touch the 
magnanimous heart of Your Majesty, and that you 
will deign to make me share the fate of the many 
Your Majesty has made happy. 
" Sefior, I am, etc., 

" (Signed) FERDINAND/' 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Charles Leopold, Baron de Colly, an astute and 
intriguing youth, proposed to the Duke of Kent 
a plan for releasing Ferdinand from his ignoble 
position at Valengay by taking him on board an 
English man-of-war to a port of Spain. 

The Duke of Kent referred the matter to his 
father, who sent Ferdinand two letters by the 
Baron. Provided with a set of passports and 
all papers necessary for the undertaking, besides 
supplies, in the form of diamonds and an open 
draft on the house of Maensoff and Clanoy, and 
a ship loaded with provisions for five months, 
Colly commenced operations. He reached Paris 
in safety, sold part of the diamonds, and began his 
preparations ; but the police got wind of the plot 
through Colly's secretary Albert, and he was 
promptly shut up in the Castle of Vincennes. 

Fouche tried to persuade Colly to continue his 
work, so that Ferdinand might be caught in the 
act of escaping ; but the Englishman preferred his 
prison to such treachery, and in this prison he 
remained until the fall of Napoleon. 

In the meanwhile Fouche sent to Ferdinand a 
man called Richard, personating Colly. But the 
Prince was not caught in the trap, for, in his rooted 
desire to conciliate the Emperor of the French, he 
sent at once for Berthemy, the Governor, and said 
to him : 

" The English have done great harm to the 
Spanish nation by using my name, and they are 
now the cause of the blood which is being spilt. 
The English Ministry, in their mistaken idea that 
I am kept here by force, have sent an emissary 


How Napoleon L Checkmated the Royal Family 

to me who, under the pretext of selling me curios, 
has given me a letter from His Majesty the King 
of England." 

The letter from George III. to Ferdinand, which 
was subsequently published in Le Moniteur, ran 
thus : 


" I have for a long time wished for an 
opportunity to send Your Majesty a letter signed 
by my hand, to express the deep interest and the 
profound feeling which I have entertained for 
you since you were taken from your kingdom and 
your faithful subjects. Whatever the violence and 
cruelty with which the usurper of the throne of 
Spain oppresses that nation, it ought to be of 
great consolation to Your Majesty to know that 
your people retains its loyalty and love for its 
legitimate Sovereign, and Spain makes continual 
efforts to maintain the rights of Your Majesty 
and to re-establish those of the monarchy. The 
resources of my kingdom, my squadrons, and my 
armies, will be employed in aiding the vassals of 
Your Majesty in this great cause, and my ally the 
Prince Regent of Portugal has also contributed 
with all the zeal and perseverance of his faithful 

' The only thing which is wanting to your 
faithful subjects and your allies is the presence 
of Your Majesty in Spain, where it would give 
fresh energy. Therefore I ask Your Majesty, with 
all the frankness of alliance and friendship which 
bind me to your interests, to think of the most 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

prudent and efficacious way of escaping from the 
indignities which you suffer, and to present your- 
self in the midst of a people unanimous in its desire 
for the glory and happiness of Your Majesty. ' 

" I beg Your Majesty to be sure of my sincere 
friendship, and of the true affection with which 
I am in the palace of the Queen, Monday, 
January 31, 1810 sir, my Brother, 

' Your worthy Brother, 

" By command of the King, 


But Ferdinand's cross-grained nature was 
unable to follow any straightforward advice or 
adopt any clear course. However, we all know 
how the people's desire to have a Spaniard on the 
throne, aided by the troops of England, was 
finally successful, and Ferdinand the Desired 
entered his capital on May 13, amid cries of 
delight from his people, who were wild with joy. 

* " Monitor de Paris, traducido por Don Juan Maria Blanco 
en el ' Espanol ' publicado en Londres," torno i., p. 136. 



1814 1829 

So Spaniards once more had a King of their own 
blood. The pity of the matter was that the man 
himself was so unworthy of the people's trust. 
Brought up in a Court honeycombed with intrigue, 
truth and sincerity seemed unknown to Ferdinand, 
and although he constantly said, " I hate and 
abhor despotism," there never was a Sovereign 
more despotic than this son of Charles IV. 

Being untrustworthy himself, he thought every- 
body was unreliable, and so he set spies on his 
entourage, and stooped to listen to stories from 
his servants. 

Thus, no Minister or officer was safe from being 
sent off to prison, and with the duplicity which 
had been perfected by constant practice in his 
youth sentence of condemnation would be given 
by Ferdinand with an air of friendliness, with a 
wave of his cigar or the offer of his caramels, 
followed by thrumming on the table, or the pulling 
of his ear, or the slapping of his forehead, with 
which his courtiers were familiar as signs of bad 

The Duke of Alagon was the King's most con- 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

stant attendant in any gallant adventure, and, 
indeed, his departures in that respect were those 
of a man who seemed to atone for his want of 
personal attractions by a surplus of gallantry to 
the fair sex. It was whilst pursuing one of these 
intrigues with a charming widow at the royal 
resort of San Lorenzo that General Trinidad 
Balboa, in his anxiety to show his zeal for the 
King in his position as commander of the police 
at Aranjuez, wrote to headquarters saying : 

' There is nothing fresh to report beyond the 
anxiety felt by the King's faithful servants at His 
Majesty so constantly risking his precious health 
by being out in the cold night air of the gardens." 

But the official's zeal was untimed, and he was 
politely informed that any further reports of this 
nature would end in a visit to Ceuta, which is the 
severest Spanish prison. 

As there was but one Government in the reign 
of Ferdinand VII. and but one army, and that 
was the Government and the army of the King, 
the effect of the influence of the women who sur- 
rounded the monarch was immense, and this was 
especially seen in the royal country resorts, where 
the King's Court numbered many coquettish 
sirens who courted him for favours of all de- 

The greed and corruption of men in authority 
at Court became an open secret.* Don Pedro 
Macanaz, the Minister of Grace and Justice, sold 
offices at high prices, and large sums of money 
thus passed into the hands of a certain Luisa 

* " History of Ferdinand VII.," 1843. 

King Ferdinand VIL and his Home Life 

Robinet, who had followed the diplomat from 
France. This fact came to the ears of the King, 
and he determined to stop the matter in his own 
way ; so on November 8, 1814, Ferdinand rose 
early and sallied quietly forth from the palace, 
only accompanied by his confidential friend, the 
Duke of Alagon. 

When they had gone some way, they were joined 
by a company of the Guard, and with this escort 
they arrived at the house of the suspected Minister. 
The unhappy man was in bed, but the King 
mounted to his room, demanded his keys, and 
went to his desk, and there he found a letter in 
which a certain person offered him 12,000 reals for 
a post which he solicited. Armed with this and 
many other incriminating papers, Ferdinand re- 
turned home to his courtiers, who applauded his 
action, and Macanaz was condemned to imprison- 
ment for an indefinite time in the Castle of San 
Antonio in Corunna. 

The corruption of the Ministers and the despo- 
tism of the King naturally led to secret societies 
in Spain. 

Alagon was the King's constant companion, 
and at night the King used to sally forth with 
him in search of adventure. Don Ramon de 
Mesoneros Romanos relates that one night a small 
boy met two imposing-looking figures dressed as 
ordinary citizens with wide-collared cloaks, and, as 
there was not room on the side-walk for him to 
pass them without going into the road, he made 
as if he would push by them, with the discourtesy 
of youth. But, as the man on the inside of the 

81 F 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

pathway removed his handkerchief from his face, 
the boy gazed at him with such open-mouthed 
astonishment that the imposing-looking gentleman 
quietly put forth his hand, and the boy found 
himself removed to the middle of the road. The 
next day the boy's schoolfellows were regaled with 
an account of his encounter with the Sovereign. 

" Yes/' said the boy, with glee, " it was King 
Ferdinand VII. himself his very self." 

During the public audiences at Court, Alagon 
used to stand by the King with his hand in the 
breast of his coat, and by a secret language he 
acquainted the King with the political opinions 
of the persons who were soliciting his favour, and 
it was by the same dumb language that the 
monarch learnt particulars about any beauties 
who appeared at the Alcazar. 

It was soon found that to pander to the King's 
love of the table was a sure way to favour, so not 
only would an impecunious noble give him a mag- 
nificent banquet in return for exemption from 
paying his debts, but the religious houses, the bar- 
racks, and the prisons, regaled the royal monarch 
with great feasts, which were always followed by 
a request for his patronage on behalf of some 
relation or connection of those in authority at the 

On February 3, 1815, Ferdinand suddenly ap- 
peared with the Captain of his Guard in the 
Council of the Supreme Inquisition. He told the 
assembly to resume their seats and to continue 
their work, and this work of persecuting humanity 
appeared so attractive to the royal visitor that 


King Ferdinand VIL and his Home Life 

he decorated the Inquisitor-General with the Grand 
Cross of Charles III. The superior officer a few 
days afterwards gave a magnificent lunch to the 
monarch on the understanding that he would 
favour the work of condemning heretics ; so on 
March 17 we find Ferdinand creating an Order of 
Knighthood for the Ministers of the Holy Office, 

Ferdinand's marriage, when he was thirty- two 
years of age, to Isabel de Braganza, opened a new 
era for Spain. As we know, Isabel's sister, Dona 
Maria Francisca de Asis, had married the King's 
brother, Don Carlos, the future claimant to the 

The King's bride was soon beloved by all her 
subjects for her sweetness and intelligence. In- 
deed, so true was her judgment in matters of 
policy that, when her husband occasionally con- 
sulted with her about affairs, he never regretted 
accepting her opinion. 

The young Queen was, moreover, very artistic, 
and it was her love of the fine arts and her skill 
in painting that led to the foundation of the 
Academy of San Fernando, intended especially 
for the exhibition of foreign pictures. 

But, clever as the young Queen was, she was 
woman enough to wish to win her husband's 
admiration, and in this aim she resorted to all sorts 
of girlish artifices. 

Once, when the King was passing through the 
royal apartments with his pompous step, he was 
accosted by a charming maiden in Andalusian 
attire. With her fine features shaded by a rich 
white mantilla, her beautiful blue eyes bubbling 

83 F 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

over with fun, and her lovely hands holding up the 
castanets, she gracefully took a few steps of a 
Sevillian dance before curtseying to His Majesty. 
When the King saw that the charming girl was the 
Queen, he was surprised into admiration for his 
beautiful wife, and every time that she astonished 
him by such successful artifice she increased his 
love for her. 

But, unfortunately for Isabel's happiness, Fer- 
dinand was constantly on his guard against falling, 
like his father, too much under the influence of his 
wife, and, as a weak nature like his was bound to 
be under some domination, it was subjugated by 
such men as the dissolute Duke of Alagon and his 
servitor Chamorro, and the Queen's influence was 

However, the bright, buoyant, loving way in 
which Isabel sought to gain her rightful place in 
Ferdinand's affections would have succeeded in 
any Court less corrupt than that of Madrid. But 
the stream of a sweet, pure influence was checked 
by the stagnating effect of flattery and lies, and 
the King shut himself out of the joys of a. happy 
home life by the barricades of self-interested 
friendship, and he strove to satisfy his young wife 
by showering such public marks of favour upon her 
as having the Buen Retiro made into a perfect 
garden of Paradise for her use. But, even as the 
beautiful Queen trod the lovely glades and gazed 
at the gorgeous flowers, she sighed for more fre- 
quent signs of her husband's love and confidence, 
which would have filled her heart with a joy un- 
obtainable by any outward pomp and prettiness. 



To face page ^ 

King Ferdinand VIL and his Home Life 

Alagon and Chamorro indeed formed an insur- 
mountable barrier between the royal couple, and 
all Isabel's efforts seemed powerless to break it 

The King's charming compliments to his wife 
sometimes soothed her chafed spirits, and consoled 
her with the hope that, if not supreme in his 
confidence, she had at least no rival in his heart. 
But this consolation was not long left her, for the 
day came when she found that the man who had 
been treacherous to his father and his mother, his 
family, and his friends, was also false to his wife. 

The Queen was sitting one evening in the royal 
palace. If her pretty forehead puckered some- 
times in thought, it was probably because she was 
planning some fresh fantastic surprise for the 
husband who was enthroned in her heart, or 
herhaps she was forming some plan for an ex- 
hibition in the Art Institution she had founded, 
when her brother-in-law, Don Carlos, came into 
the room and informed her that the King had gone 
out into the city in his mysterious way with his 
confidants Alagon and Chamorro, and expedi- 
tions conducted in this secret form signified to 
the Prince an affaire de coeur. Isabel at first 
declined to believe the Infante's statement, as 
Ferdinand had told her that he was only going 
on business to the Mayordomo's office. So the 
Prince accompanied his sister-in-law to the office 
in question, and when the King was not to be 
found there, and his companions also proved to 
be missing, the Queen determined to wait for her 
husband in a room near the door by which he would 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

re-enter the palace. The hours of waiting were 
long, and when Ferdinand finally returned it was 
to find the gentle Queen too overwrought to be 
able to restrain her rage. 

" You have deceived me !" she cried. " You 
come from the house of your dear one ! I con- 
gratulate you !" 

The King replied in terms which showed how 
great was his anger with the tale-bearer, and the 
dialogue between the royal brothers might have 
led to fatal results had not Dona Francisca inter- 
vened ; and, as the influence which the Princess 
exerted over her brother-in-law was always of 
great weight, the painful scene ended with the 
wound to poor Isabel's heart which never was 

Deceived in her husband, the young Queen 
devoted herself assiduously to her baby daughter, 
and was never so happy as when she was doing 
everything herself for it; and when the little 
Infanta succumbed to an illness, Isabel's grief was 
intense, and the King also was much affected at 
the death of his baby daughter. 

It was about this time that the serious discon- 
tent in the realm led to a plot which was to com- 
pass the assassination of the King. Don Vicente- 
Richard was the chief conspirator, and as each 
participator in the plot knew of only two others 
concerned in it, and the triangular sections were 
all quite separate from each other, the names were 
never disclosed. When it was time to put the 
match to the train, some thought that it would be 
well to surprise the King in the house of a certain 


King Ferdinand VIL and his Home Life 

beautiful Andalusian lady called Pepa, so that the 
whole country should know that the perfidy of 
the King extended to his domestic life as well as 
to matters of public concern. 

But Richard's two co-operators betrayed the 
plot to the palace, and although the conspirators 
met the fate which such actions invite, and the 
King spared neither time nor money in trying to 
find out their co-operators, no further information 
was discoverable. 

The Freemasons were at this time a great object 
of persecution on the part of the Inquisition, In 
a curious old book called " Narration of Don Juan 
Van Halem, Field-Marshal of the National Troops/' 
we have an account of a secret audience he had 
with Ferdinand for the purpose of making certain 
revelations to His Majesty on the subject. 

According to the account written by Halem 
himself, a certain Don Ramirez Arellano came 
into his cell at seven o'clock in the evening, when 
he was suffering imprisonment at the hand of the 
Inquisition, and told him that the King was 
graciously pleased to receive him, but warned him 
solemnly against any indiscretion. Halem wished 
to put on his uniform, with the stripes and decora- 
tions accorded to those who had followed Ferdinand 
to Valengay. But Arellano forbade it. " Nothing 
in the way of uniform," he said " nothing, nothing 
that may attract attention ;" and he made him 
don his plain cap and jacket, and, accompanied by 
the alcalde and another man, they repaired to the 

"We reached the gallery/' writes Van Halem, 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

f< by unfrequented stairways, and, opening a 
coloured window, which was a secret door, came 
to the King's private room, commonly called the 

11 There Ramirez Arellano left us for a while, 
and I found that the other incognito was Villar 
Frontin, the King's secretary. At the end of half 
an hour a fine-figured lady passed through the 
room, followed by Arellano. He nervously made 
a sign to the secretary and me to follow him, whilst 
the alcalde was to remain behind. When we all 
three arrived at the door of the salon, Arellano 
called out in a loud tone : 

" ' Senor.' 

" ' What is it ?' cried a voice from within. 

" ' Here is Van Halem.' 

" ' Enter/ 

" So we entered, leaving Villar Frontin near the 
door outside. 

" The King was quite alone ; he was seated in 
the only chair in the room, but as we advanced 
he rose to his feet. The King's dress is so familiar 
to his people, down to the cut of his trousers and 
the stud of his shirt-front, that there is no need to 
describe it. 

" At a little distance from the chair was a large 
table, at which the King despatched business with 
his Ministers, and upon which were several papers, 
an inkstand, a writing-case, and a box of cigars. 

" By the side of the table was a case, which was 
doubtless the same in which Irriberry said the 
King kept the papers sent from Murcia for him. 

" The King rested one hand on the table, whilst 


King Ferdinand VII. and his Home Life 

I bowed to his feet according to Spanish etiquette, 
and giving me the other to kiss, he raised me, say- 
ing : ' And what do you want ? Why do you wish 
to see me ?' 

" ' Because I am perfectly sure that, if Your 
Majesty will listen to me quietly, all the suspicions 
with which Your Majesty has been inspired, and 
which have led to my treatment, will be allayed !' 

" ' But you are taking part in a conspiracy, and 
you ought to divulge it to me. I know all. Don't 
be frightened. Who are your accomplices ?' 

" ' The desire for good is not conspiracy. If 
Your Majesty knows all, there will be nothing 
new in what I can say, and any explanation you 
may deign to authorize me to make will disarm 
your anger, and show you that the only reason 
anybody hides from your august personage is to 
escape from the scourge with which people seek to 
make your illustrious name odious/ 

' Who are those who have seduced you with 
these errors ? Tell me who they are. Do not 

" ' Senor, if Your Majesty knows all, you know 
you must know that nobody has seduced me, 
and that I speak from an impulse of conviction 
from within ; and that the order of things and the 
distrust nowadays is such that I cannot say I know 
anybody personally.' 

" ' You must know the means of discovering 
them ; you are bound in honour to obey me. 
Choose, then, between grace and disgrace/ 

* Put yourself, Your Majesty, at the head of 
the society, and you will know all. . . / 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

" Then Ramirez Arellano advanced like a fury 
towards the King, and cried to me in a loud voice, 
most unfitting for the presence of a King : ' Here, 
here, we want no more preambles and sophisms ! 
On this table are pens and paper, and here you 
must put down the names of all the conspirators. 
No circumlocution or subterfuges. The King is at 
the head of his kingdoms, and nothing under the 
sun ought to be hidden from him. I have read 
Barruel, Sefior ; I have been in France, and I 
know what these Freemasonry secrets are. Where, 
where are the solemn oaths made to your religion 
and your King ?' 

" During all this storm I kept my eyes on the 
monarch's face, which seemed turned to stone 
from the moment Arellano joined in the conversa- 
tion. Disregarding the miserable man as much as 
I could, I turned to the King, and said : 

" ' Sefior, I know nobody/ 

" Then Ramirez said : ' Senor, the tribunal, the 
tribunal will make him vomit/ 

" Then the King, turning away from Ramirez, 
said in a tone of vexation : 

" ' It is impossible that you know nothing about 
it ; your silence is criminal/ 

" ' Senor/ I returned, ' if I were hiding a crime 
I should shun your royal presence, and if I had 
committed a sin I should profit by the opportunity 
of being in the royal presence, to ask pardon/ 

" The King stood looking at me thoughtfully for 
some time, and then said : 

" ' Put down in writing all that you have to tell 


King Ferdinand VIL and his Home Life 

" After a slight pause he took one of the cigars 
from the table, lighted it, and began smoking. 

" ' Do you smoke ?' he said. 

" And when my answer was in the affirmative, 
he said to Arellano : ' Give him some cigars/ 

" This act was followed by a sign for me to leave, 
and when I kissed His Majesty's hand he pressed 
mine with a certain touch of feeling, but, on turning 
to make my bow at the door, I heard him say to 
Arellano : ' What a pity-such young man !' 

Thus, the attempt to give the King some idea 
of the matter did not succeed, as the Freemason 
was not allowed to make any verbal explanation, 
and to have followed the royal suggestion of putting 
in writing any information about the society 
would have been to put one's neck into the noose. 

According to Van Halem's own story, he sub- 
sequently escaped from prison through the help 
of a maid-servant. 

It was on the evening of December 26, 1818, 
that sweet Isabel died, and Ferdinand again found 
himself a widower. 

The news was a great shock to the whole 
country. Mesoneros Romanos relates that he was 
at a large municipal evening party, when the Mayor 
entered in his official, garb, and said in a solemn 
voice : " Sefiores, this festivity must cease. The 
Queen our lady " (and he reverently doffed his 
hat) t:t has just expired after being delivered of 
an infant, which has also died." Dismay filled 
the assembly, and it was with sad hearts that the 
company repaired to their homes, for not only 
had they lost their lovable young Queen, but the 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

death of her infant had also destroyed their hopes 
of an heir to the throne.* 

It is said that Ferdinand showed more grief at 
this bereavement than ever he had before, and, 
robbed of the one person whose advice was always 
good and disinterested, he was soon utterly ruled 
by his favourites of the camarilla, who wove 
intrigues to the ruin of the country. 

Obedient to the wishes of the State, that there 
should be a direct heir to the crown, the King soon 
wedded Maria Josef a Amalia, Princess of Saxony, 
a young girl of sixteen, just out of the convent 
where she was educated ; and it was soon seen that 
she had little or no influence on the character 
and actions of her husband, for, although the 
verses from her pen show that she was very in- 
telligent, she was never known, during the eight 
years of her married life, to express any opinion 
on public affairs, and she occupied herself entirely 
in making garments for the poor. With the 
extreme piety of her disposition, which had been 
fostered in the convent, Maria Amalia never fre- 
quented balls or theatres, and her drive in the 
Pardo was the only pleasure she allowed herself. 
Studious by nature, the Queen soon mastered the 
language of her new country, but study was not 
the accomplishment by which she could gain 
ascendancy over a man like Ferdinand. 

The change from the society of the eager, in- 
telligent Isabel to that of the cold, formal Maria 
Amalia was great, and, as the phlegmatic Queen 
never sought her husband's confidence, it was now 

* " Memorias de un Setenton, Mesoneros Romanes." 



To face page 92 

King Ferdinand VIL and his Home Life 

entirely monopolized by his self-interested cama- 
rilla, who flattered and fawned upon the King, and 
encouraged him in courses which gradually robbed 
him of all the respect of his subjects. The King's 
promises to support the Constitution were reck- 
lessly broken, and despair at the decay of all hopes 
of a good monarchical government led, in 1820, to 
such a systematic proclamation of the Constitution 
in Corunna, Vigo, and many garrisons of Spain, 
that the country became in a state of revolt. Then 
the courtiers became alarmed, and the King himself 
could not hide his anxiety at seeing the affection 
of his subjects slipping from him. The day came 
when the palace was surrounded by a discontented 
mob. The Queen sat silently in a corner of her 
room engaged in prayer, whilst Chamorro tried to 
drown his master's fears in ribald laughter. 

Ferdinand paced the apartment deep in thought, 
and the silence which met his companion's ill- 
placed mirth showed it was unwelcome to the 
monarch. At last the King's good genius con- 
quered, and, putting aside the courtiers who sought 
to stifle every good impulse, he sent for better coun- 
cillors, and by their advice he strove to avert the 
threatened blow by signing a document in which he 
promised to act in conformity with his brother Don 
Carlos and the Junta, of which he was President. 

But the expressions in this manifesto were 
vague and obscure instead of being open and 
frank, and Ferdinand found that the realm which 
had been outraged by six years of autocratic 
tyranny was as difficult to get back to subjection 
as an unbridled horse left to its own course. 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Discontented with the lack of any binding 
promise in the King's manifesto that he would 
protect their constitutional rights, the people 
returned in crowds to the palace, and the air 
echoed with their loud cries for justice. The 
Royal Guard itself was lax in checking this public 
ebullition of feeling, and the people began to 
press up the royal staircase, when the King sent 
his emissaries to check their progress and calm the 
sedition with promises to give attention to their 
petitions. But these promises did not satisfy the 
people, and the Marquis of Miraflores returned to 
the King to say that the citizens demanded His 
Majesty to take his solemn oath of the Constitution 
of the country in presence of the Corporation and 
the Commissioners of the people. 

Despotic as he was when in safety, Ferdinand 
was weak and cowardly in danger, so he concealed 
his annoyance at the demand of the Commission, 
and, with well-assumed benignity, took the desired 
oath in the Ambassadors* Salon at the palace. 
But afterwards, when alone with his favourites, 
Ferdinand gave vent to the rage which he felt at 
having been thus forced to do what was contrary 
to his love of despotism. 

Indeed, this despotism was inherent in Ferdi- 
nand both by instinct and education, and Queen 
Amalia's sphere of usefulness was limited to her 
never-ending self-imposed task of making garments 
for the poor. Spain saw the sad hearts of those 
whose parents, husbands, sons, or friends, were 
condemned to exile or poverty for no better cause 
than for having been friendly with the French, 


King Ferdinand VII* and his Home Life 

whom their King himself had flattered with every 
expression of obedience and service. 

The promises for the restitution of the property 
which had been thus confiscated came too late to 
check the surging insurrectionary state of the 
people, and on the night of July 8, 1820, the 
insurrection in the barracks of the King's own 
Guard, in favour of those who were proclaiming 
Liberty throughout the country, struck terror into 
the pusillanimous heart of the King, and it was 
only the death of the standard-bearer which pre- 
vented the revolution becoming very serious. 

Moreover, the palace itself was the seat of a 
plot headed by Baso, the King's secretary, and 
Erroz, his private chaplain. 

The object of this plot was to get possession of 
the King's person on the road from Burgos, and 
to proclaim a republic. 

But Baso, who was attached to the Infante Don 
Francisco, warned him so that he could repair to 
Old Castile, and the matter thus got wind, and 
reached the ears of Echevarri, the Chief of the 
Police. This official promptly ordered the bells 
to be set ringing in every place on the King's 
route, and the crowds of people thus brought to 
the road from Burgos prevented the King being 
taken captive. 

It was on the day following the frustration of 
the plot that Ferdinand opened the Senate in 
state. The King went with stately step to the 
royal apartments of Queen Amalia, and, accom- 
panied by the Infantas, grandees, gentlemen-in- 
waiting, and all the pomp of the occasion, Their 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Majesties proceeded to the Senate in the magnifi- 
cent state coach drawn by sixteen cream horses 
with nodding plumes. Seated on the throne, with 
the Ministers, Deputies, and Bishops, on the 
benches, and a brilliant assembly of courtiers 
and ladies in the boxes, the King read his opening 
speech ; and, as he promised to maintain the rights 
of the people, it seemed as if King and State were 
once more in union. 

But the seeds of discontent were not so easily 
uprooted, and a Commission of the Patriotic 
Society of the Cafe of Lorencini went at twelve 
o' clock one night to the palace to request the 
removal of the Marquis of las Amarillas, the Secre- 
tary of War. This request angered the monarch, 
the bad feeling between Ferdinand and his 
Ministers increased daily, and in the meetings the 
King did not hesitate to exhibit his bad temper 
in spiteful and satirical allusions accompanied 
by a malignant smile. 

It was at this time that Riego was made Captain- 
General of Galicia. He was a pleasant, valorous 
young fellow who suddenly became a favourite 
of the populace through the bold way in which he 
stood up for the constitutional rights of the nation. 
But after his triumphal entry into Madrid he quite 
lost his head, and, instead of being the Rienzi the 
people had hoped for, he had not sufficient elo- 
quence with which to harangue the people when 
they shouted for him to come and speak for them, 
and the populace had to be contented with the 
sight of his face in the light of their torches. 
Riego was indeed wanting in the intellectual 


King Ferdinand VIL and his Home Life 

force required to lead a nation, and, though 
he had thought to be its idol, he soon found he 
was only its plaything, but his vanity spurred him 
on in the campaign for the assertion of its rights. 
Ferdinand, meanwhile, had been told by one of 
his secret agents of the weak side of the leader of 
the insurgents ; and having sent for Riego, he 
flattered him by showing him how advantageous 
it would be to schemes of constitutional liberty 
if he were to join the Ministry. 

Riego then boldly declared his hope that the 
Ministry would be changed, and Ferdinand, who 
was at that moment anxious to get rid of his 
Cabinet, entered into the plan of replacing the 
Ministers by friends of Riego. 

It was on September 3 that Ri ego's party 
proceeded to the theatre after a great banquet, 
and there broke into a couplet composed in Cadiz 
the " Tragala " (" Swallow It," meaning the 
Constitution) . 

Ferdinand strove to counteract this public anti- 
monarchical exhibition by secret agents following 
him with cries of " Viva el Rey " as he passed to 
and from the palace. 

Fresh friction arose between the monarch and the 
Ministry when the law which had been approved by 
the Cortes for the reform of the convents was brought 
to the King for his sanction. For, supported by 
the wish of the Pope, conveyed by the Nuncio, 
Ferdinand determined to take no step to check the 
fanaticism which he himself so strongly favoured. 
The people were furious at this blow to their 
hopes for progress, and when all was prepared for 

97 G 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

the departure of the King and Queen to the 
Escorial on October 25, his secretaries told him 
that a plan was laid by his enemies to prevent his 
departure till he had passed the decree to check 
the power of the friars and prevent their inquisi- 
torial courses. The King was enraged at this 
announcement, and he hastily decided to leave 
Madrid that very minute. So he left with the 
Queen and the Infantas at eleven o'clock in the 
morning, and brilliant illuminations and rejoicings 
marked the evening of Their Majesties' return to 
the Palace of San Lorenzo. Shut up in the Escorial, 
Ferdinand devoured his rage in secret, and when 
the day came for closing the Congress, he excused 
himself from attendance on the plea of a severe cold. 
It was on November 21 that the Court returned 
to Madrid. But at some distance from the 
capital crowds of people met Their Majesties 
singing the " Tragala" ; and when Ferdinand, as 
usual, went to the window of the palace to see the 
march past of the regiments in the city, he was 
met by a storm of frantic cries and threatening 
gesticulations from the crowds of people assembled 
in the Plaza del Oriente. The King was about to 
turn away with an imprecation from such a scene, 
when he caught sight of a child being held up 
above the sea of angry faces, and a look of horror 
came over his face as the populace pointed to the 
little boy, crying, " Lacy ! Lacy !" For by this 
name he knew that the child was that of the un- 
happy General Lacy, the leader of the victory 
over the French in the Mancha, but he had met a 
secret and violent death at Majorca after the failure 


King Ferdinand VIL and his Home Life 

of his pronunciamento in favour of the Constitution 
had led to his plot in Catalonia in 1817. 

The King stood horror-struck when the cries 
of ' Viva Lacy's son !" and " Viva his father's 
avenger !" filled the air, but he kept his place till 
the defile of the regiment was over. Then the 
King turned back into the salon with a face which 
showed that he realized the portentous nature of 
the movement he had witnessed. 

The Queen was sitting weeping bitterly at these 
signs of discord, and the Infantas looked distressed 
at the dangers which were threatening the dynasty 
through their brother's want of keeping faith with 
his subjects. 

The sense of danger became more pronounced 
when it was found that within the very precincts 
of the palace a plot was brewing. 
/- It was the honorary chaplain, Don Matios 
'Vinuesa, and a gentleman-in-waiting, who formed 
the idea of sending for the city authorities one night 
and making them prisoners of the King in the 
royal domain, whilst the infant Don Carlos was 
to take command of the troops of the garrison in 
virtue of the Absolutist party. This plot was dis- 
covered by the betrayal of the secret printing of 
the proclamations, and Vinuesa was hurried off 
to prison on January 21, 1821. 

On May 4, Vinuesa, the Canon of Tarazona, 
was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment in 
Africa. But this punishment did not satisfy the 
fury of the people at the discovery of the plot 
favoured by the King. A meeting was held in 
the Puerta del Sol, and from thence the outraged 

99 G 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

people proceeded to the prison, to which their 
admission was only opposed by one locked door. 
All the rest were open, and, penetrating the~"cell 
of the unhappy cleric, they gave him two blows on 
the head with an iron hammer. The murdered man 
had tried to avert his death by falling on his knees 
and begging for mercy ; but it was useless, and the 
bloodthirsty mob followed the mortal blows dealt 
on the head with several more with other weapons. 

An assassination which had been connived at 
by those in power filled the King with fear, for he 
felt that a people who could thus take justice into 
their own hands might resort to the same course 
any day with him. 

In this state of alarm, he ordered the Guard to 
assemble in the wide colonnaded square of the 
palace. The Guard was composed of soldiers who 
had fought bravely in the Battles of Bailen, Tala- 
vera, and Albuera, and the King did wisely to 
appeal to the chivalrous feeling of such men. 

" Soldiers !" he cried, with a voice which be- 
came penetrating in the speaker's desire to make 
it ring in the hearts of his hearers "Soldiers I" 
he cried, " the deed committed this afternoon 
against the person of the priest may to-morrow 
be committed against me or against yourselves. 
Soldiers ! I trust in you, and I come before your 
ranks now to ask if you are disposed to defend 
your constitutional King/' 

To this appeal the Guard cried : " Viva the abso- 
lute King !" and, satisfied with this demonstration, 
Ferdinand returned to the royal apartments, some- 
what reassured after the fright he had suffered. 


King Ferdinand VIL and his Home Life 

After this episode the King seemed to avoid 
Madrid, with its discontented Ministers and the 
insulting cries of the " Tragala " revolutionary 
song, which so often fell upon his ears by the 
Manzanares, and, after going with the Queen to 
take the baths at Sacedon, he spent some time in 
the Palace of San Ildefonso at Aranjuez. There 
the unstable King could be oblivious of his duties 
as a constitutional monarch ; and in frivolous 
games and boating-parties, picnics and dances, he 
passed the hours away. With the gallantry with 
which Ferdinand sought to compensate for his 
want of personal good looks, he made himself con- 
spicuous with many of the frivolous, pretentious 
ladies who sought for his favours. 

However, the King's health began to fail 
visibly, and he became a martyr to gout, which 
finally shortened his life. 

Ferdinand's constant struggle of his ambition 
against the natural weakness of his character, and 
his propensity for the pleasures of the table and 
gallantry, undermined his constitution, and at an 
age when many men are in their prime he was 
broken with suffering. 

When the revolution at last broke out under the 
Generals Alava, Copons, and Riego, the King was 
in a great state of mind, and horses were saddled 
and kept ready for flight at a minute's notice. 

When Ballesteros, who had been victorious with 
the militia in the Puerta del Sol, arrived at the 
gates of the palace, the Royal Family was horror- 
struck. The two battalions of the Guard were idle 
at the royal domain, because the King would not 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

let them go to the assistance of the four batta- 
lions fighting in the town, and he had passed the 
night endorsing the lists of proscription which his 
alarmed councillors had presented to him. The 
King had, moreover, signed the warrant for the 
committal to prison of Riego, Ballesteros, Palarea, 
etc., who captained the militia, and the sentence 
was to have been executed that very night. 

But for such a task a strong Guard was needed, 
as despots can only condemn citizens to death when 
protected by a strong line of bayonets. The cannon 
thundered in the Puerta del Sol, and the militia 
with Ballesteros having appeared right at the gates 
of the palace, a bullet entered one of the windows. 

Then the King forgot all his plans for revenge, 
and the dignity of the Castilian crown was dragged 
in the dust, for he sent a messenger to Ballesteros 
beseeching him to desist from firing, as his life 
would be in imminent danger. 

The General replied : " Tell the King to com- 
mand the attendants about him to lay down their 
arms immediately, or, if not, the bayonets of free 
men will penetrate to his royal chamber/' 

However, Ballesteros did order a truce to the 
hostilities, and sent back the messenger to 
Morillo with his own Aide-de-Camp. 

The permanent deputation of the Cortes, which, in 
virtue of Article 187, was entitled to form a regency 
in the case of the physical or moral deficiency 
of the King, thought it was time to do so, and it 
assembled in the house called the Panaderia. 

Word was sent to the militia that His Majesty 
desired the cessation of bloodshed, and it did not 


King Ferdinand VII. and his Home Life 

seem befitting the splendour of the sceptre for the 
King's Guard to be obliged to lay down their arms. 
After an animated discussion it was decided that 
the four battalions which had attacked the town 
should lay down their arms, and that the other 
two should go out armed and take up their 
positions in Vicaloaro and Leganes. 

But late in the afternoon, when this arrange- 
ment was going to take place, the four aggressive 
battalions, having made another attack on the 
militia, fled away by the stone steps which lead 
from the square of the royal palace to the Campo 
de Moro. Morillo brought more artillery into 
play, and Ballesteros, after attacking with his 
cavalry the groups of peasants who were pro- 
claiming absolutism, also started in pursuit of the 
Guards. It spoke well for the democrats that, when 
the palace was momentarily left without any guard, 
until the Count of Carthagena arrived with the 
regiment of the Infante Don Carlos, it was perfectly 
respected, and no attempt was made to invade it. 

But when Morillo arrived with his troops at the 
royal gates, Ferdinand rushed to the window and 
incited his General to attack the people, crying 
out : " After them ! after them !" Such cowardice 
and treachery seemed incredible. 

Instigated by his love of double-dealing and 
intrigue, Ferdinand sent again for Riego, the revo- 
lutionary leader, and deceived him by his con- 
ciliatory assertions that he only wished his welfare 
and that of all Spaniards, and that he did not 
believe his heart was capable of nourishing the 
counsels of perfidious men. 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Riego, unacquainted with the dissimulation of 
the Court, was quite enthusiastic at the sudden 
conversion of the King, and in this spirit he would 
not have the " Tragala " sung any more, and 
declared he would have those who did so arrested. 

The astuteness and deception of the King gave 
rise to inextricable confusion in affairs. On one 
side he promised the French Minister that he 
would establish the two Chambers, and on the 
other side he was telling Mataflorida to take the 
reins of a Regency and proclaim Absolutism. 
When the three Generals met the King as he 
crossed the bridge at Cadiz connecting the island 
with the mainland, and represented to him that it 
would be well for him to place the Regency in their 
hands, he exclaimed, " Hola ! But I am not mad ! 
That is good !" and continued his way to Cadiz. 

As this is not a political book, we need not enter 
more fully into the long struggle of Ferdinand's 
Absolutism against the Constitutional party, and 
how he was obliged to leave Madrid. 

The country again saw the French called to 
interfere in the affairs of the nation, and it was 
indeed, as we know, only due to Angouleme that 
Ferdinand, after his time of humiliation in Anda- 
lusia, returned to the capital. 

Once more the people went mad with delight 
at the sight of the King. Riego the revolutionist 
was dragged in a basket at an ass's tail, to be 
hanged and quartered as a felon, and the people 
who hailed the return of the absolute monarch 
were indeed bidding welcome to the return of the 
chains which had shackled them. 




1829 1832 

ON May 17, 1829, Queen Maria Amalia passed 
away. She was a most virtuous and conscientious 
lady, and had she realized that the duties of a 
Queen were not synonymous with those of an 
Abbess, the King and the country would have been 
more benefited by her irreproachable life. The 
atmosphere of the convent hung always about her, 
and when not engaged in working for the poor she 
was occupied with her devotions. 

When the King wished to walk with the Queen, 
he generally had to wait till some sewing for the 
poor was completed ; and in all the dissensions 
between the King and his subjects his wife would 
sit silently weeping or praying, but never try to 
understand anything about the struggle between 
despotism and constitutionalism, which was tear- 
ing the realm asunder. Moreover, Maria Amalia 
left the field free for the presumptuous, frivolous 
women of the Court, when she decided never to 
go to any theatre nor to allow any balls or parties 
at the palace. 

A drive in the Retiro or the Prado was the only 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

relaxation the royal lady permitted herself, and 
it was there that the Portuguese Princess, Maria 
Francisca de Braganza, the wife of Don Carlos, 
also took her daily airing in a beautiful carriage 
drawn by six mules. The Princess of Naples, 
Princess Luisa Carlota, wife of the Infante Don 
Francisco, had long felt herself slighted by this 
haughty Princess, and by her sister, the Princess 
de Beira, widow of the Infante Don Pedro, and 
after the death of Queen Maria Amalia she deter- 
mined to mature a plan by which her position 
at Court would be improved. For, knowing the 
susceptible nature of Ferdinand, and that his 
obstinate nature was weak and yielding where 
the fair sex was concerned, his sister-in-law deter- 
mined that this susceptibility should be turned 
to account in the person of her sister, Maria 
Cristina. The position of Luisa Carlota had, 
moreover, always been somewhat ambiguous, from 
the open secret of the relation of her husband with 
Godoy ; and as this Prince and Princess always 
thus felt themselves somewhat alien from the rest 
of the Royal Family, they were strongly in favour 
of the Liberal party, which was in direct opposi- 
tion to Don Carlos, his wife, and the widowed 
Portuguese Princess. 

Thus, intrigue and enmity reigned between the 
two parties, and Luisa Carlota could hardly con- 
ceal her triumphant feeling when, on showing the 
King the portrait of her beautiful sister, she saw 
that his face expressed admiration for the bo" 
girl, who was daughter of Francis I. of N<- 
the brother of his first wife, and therefc 



To face page 106 

Maria Cristina, Ferdinand's Fourth Wife 

niece by marriage ; and on December n, 1829, the 
beautiful young Princess made her formal entry 
into Madrid as the bride of the King. 

When the Princess arrived at Aranjuez with her 
parents, she was received by the Infantes Francisco 
de Paula and Don Carlos, and so the first formal 
words of welcome in the name of the King were 
addressed to the bride by him who afterwards 
became her most bitter enemy and rival. 

The impression made upon the Spanish people 
by the Italian Princess during her journey from 
Barcelona to the capital was favourable. Her 
beauty and youth appealed strongly to the sus- 
ceptible Spaniards, and her kindness of heart was 
seen in her suggestion that the soldiers should put 
their cloaks on in the inclement weather ; and on 
the day of her triumphal entry into Madrid as 
their Queen, with the King at the right side of her 
carriage and the Infantas on the left, the people 
went wild with joy at what they considered as the 
dawn of a new era for the realm. It was soon 
evident that the young Queen had great influence 
over her husband. Unlike her predecessor on the 
throne, Maria Cristina loved to take an active 
part in the affairs of the realm ; and Don Carlos, 
who had always had ascendancy over Ferdinand, 
found that his position in the confidence of his 
brother was gradually on the wane. 

The beautiful Princess tempered Ferdinand's 
fury against those who had revolted against him, 
and her gentle words and calm counsel were a 
beneficent antidote to the advice of Calomarde 
and the Bishop of Leon. 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

As the influence of Maria Cristina increased, the 
power of the Portuguese Princesses was lessened, 
and the enmity of the parties became more and 
more marked. 

When it was evident that an heir to the throne 
might be expected, Don Carlos and his wife placed 
all their hopes on the chance of it being a girl, 
for in that case he laid claim to be heir to the 
throne by virtue of the Salic Law of Philip IV. 
Although Charles IV. had privately abrogated 
this law, Don Carlos still considered thai his right 
was valid, as he was born in 1788, a year before 
its abrogation. 

The power of the Queen over the King was still 
more marked after the birth of their little daughter 
on October 10, 1830. As heiress to the throne, 
Ferdinand commanded the same honours to be 
accorded the infant Princess as were customary 
to be given to a Prince of Asturias. With fresh 
hopes for the future of his family, the King turned 
his thoughts to more liberal forms of Government 
than he had ever before entertained. By an auto- 
graph letter he decreed the establishment of a 
Liberal Ministry. But Calomarde and the Bishop 
played on the King's natural -vacillation and 
cowardice to persuade him that the Liberals 
would abuse the power against the throne. 

Gout meanwhile made great inroads in the 
health of the King. One attack followed another, 
until it became evident that the King's life would 
not be a long one. In view of her unsettled posi- 
tion, Queen Cristina determined to ingratiate 
herself with the army, and to this end she cele- 


Maria Cristina, Ferdinand's Fourth Wife 

brated the completion of Isabel's first year by 
bestowing on different companies of the soldiers 
banners worked by her own hands. 

The ceremony took place in the historic Hall of 
Columns in the Palace of, Madrid, and as the 
Queen graciously handed her beautiful work to 
the Generals, she said : " On a day so dear to my 
heart I wished to give you a proof of my affection 
by placing these banners in your hands, which I 
trust they will never leave. And I am quite per- 
suaded that you will always know how to defend 
them with the valour which is proper to the 
Spanish character, sustaining the rights of your 
King, Ferdinand VII., my very dear husband, and 
of his descendants." A public proclamation to 
the army expressed the same sentiments, and 
the bestowal of the gifts received wide appre- 

However, the intrigues in the palace grew apace, 
and one of the most constant companions of the 
Queen was Teresita, a dressmaker, who was raised 
to such a high position of favour that even Ministers 
asked her intervention with Her Majesty for the 
introduction of people of such high degree as 
grandees of Spain, etc. As Maria Cristina's influ- 
ence increased, she managed to get rid of the 
Portuguese Princess de Beira, under the pretext 
that her brother required her in her native 

After the birth of a second little Princess, the 
King was with his wife at La Granja, when he fell 
dangerously ill. The Infante Don Francisco and 
his wife were in Andalusia, and Don Carlos with 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

the Princess of Beira ; Don Sebastian and Dona 
Amalia were at the palace with the King. 

The attack of illness, which commenced on 
September 13, became so serious that his life was 
despaired of. It was then that Cristina showed 
her true wifely affection. Dressed in the costume 
of Senora del Carmen, the royal lady was a constant 
and indefatigable attendant on the patient. It 
was from her hands alone that he received his 
medicines, and it was she who administered all 
the means of alleviating his sufferings. Ferdinand 
seemed to cling to his wife during this terrible 
time, and to her he confided his distress at the 
thought of leaving her a widow with the orphaned 

Indeed, distress of mind added so much to his 
physical sufferings that Cristina sent for Calo- 
marde to see what he could do to calm his master. 
Calomarde gladly profited by the permission to 
enter the royal apartment, for the Infantas were 
refused admittance. 

When the King, between the fits of exhaustion 
that followed the attacks of pain, explained to his 
Minister with great difficulty the ground of his 
anxiety, Calomarde perfidiously expressed his 
opinion that, in the event of his Majesty's demise, 
the kingdom would declare in favour of Don Carlos, 
and that the only means of saving the crown for 
his daughter would be to associate his brother in 
the Government. It was, indeed, suggested that 
the Queen was to be authorized to despatch 
business during his illness, but it was to be with 
the help and advice of the Prince. 


Maria Cristina t Ferdinand's Fourth Wife 

The Bishop of Leon was then called into the 
King's chamber to give his opinion, and he echoed 
the advice of the Minister. 

In the meanwhile the apartments of Don Carlos 
were a hotbed of intrigue. " Now or never " was 
the feeling of the Pretender to the throne, and 
self-interested people came and went in constant 
consultation with the Prince, and to bring news 
of the condition of the King. The Portuguese 
Princesses were keen and intent on all that went 
on, whilst their faces betrayed their anxiety. 
When the Count of Alcudia appeared with the 
King's decree, Don Carlos definitively declined to 
share any duties of government with the Queen, 
and on the departure of the messenger the Infante 
again reverted to his silent and thoughtful attitude. 

The Count soon reappeared with a new decree;^ 
to the effect that Don Carlos, in company with 
Cristina, should be appointed guardian of the 
Infanta Isabel. To this Don Carlos also gave a 
haughty refusal, saying that he could not thus 
resign the legitimate rights which God gave him 
at his birth ; and with these words he closed the 
door to all negotiations for recognition of the 
little Princess's right to the throne. So the King 
was again a prey to anxiety, and the Bishop of 
Leon and Calomarde so worked on Cristina' s 
nerves in their accounts of the horrors that would 
beset the country under the civil war, which was 
imminent with little Isabel as Queen, that, at her 
wits' end to know what to do, the poor lady finally 
exclaimed : " Only let Spain be happy and tranquil 
with the benefits of peace and order !" And in 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

this overwrought state she herself besought the 
King to revoke the Salic Law. So the deed was 
done, and the King commanded a codicil to be 
drawn up, declaring that he had made this supreme 
sacrifice for the tranquillity and peace of the 
kingdom, but the fact was to be kept secret until 
after his death. 

This moment seemed to follow very quickly on 
the portentous deed; for Ferdinand fell into a 
lethargy which was believed to be death, for he 
lay without any signs of life, and all efforts of 
the doctors to revive him were useless. 

Poor Cristina put her hand to her husband's 
heart, and even as she failed to detect any move- 
ment, and thought she was a dethroned widow, 
she saw Calomarde, the Bishop of Leon, and all the 
other councillors, leave the room without a word of 
sympathy or an offer of help. That moment taught 
the Queen more of the worthlessness of friends 
of the camarilla type than she could have believed 
possible. The sight of those men leaving her in 
that callous way, alone with her supposed-to-be- 
dead husband, showed her that Madrid would be 
no place for her and her little children were Don 
Carlos on the throne. 

So, with tears pouring down her face, Cristina at 
once began to collect her jewels and make ready 
for her departure, whilst her brother-in-law was 
already addressed as " His Majesty " in the ante- 
chamber, and the Portuguese Princesses embraced 
each other with joy at the success of their plans. 

But two unexpected events happened which put 
a check to the triumph of the Carlist party the 



To face page 112 

Maria Cristina, Ferdinand's Fourth Wife 

King showed signs of life, and the Infantas Don 
Francisco and Dona Luisa Carlota suddenly 
arrived from Andalusia. A few minutes' conversa- 
tion with her sister put Luisa Carlota in possession 
of the whole story. 

After reproaching Cristina for the weakness 
which had led her to sacrifice her daughter's throne 
to the intrigues of the Infantas, the Princess sent 
for Calomarde, and a terrible scene took place. 
She upbraided the Minister for the treacherous 
way he had played into the hands of the Queen's 
enemy, and had abandoned her in time of need ; 
and when he sought to justify himself, she gave 
way to such fury that she struck him on the face. 

For a moment the Princess seemed shocked at 
her own loss of temper, but Calomarde's courtier- 
like remark, that " white hands offend not," 
showed that no further resentment on his part 
would be shown. In the meanwhile, as the King 
was supposed to be dead, the secret societies noised 
abroad the news of the Revocation of the Prag- 
matic Sanction, and Don Jose O'Donnell sent a 
secret circular to the authorities and persons of the 
places in favour of Don Carlos. 

In fact, albeit after September 28 immediate 
anxiety about the King's life was past, Maria 
Cristina felt that she was on the brink of a revo- 

It was due to the magnanimity and kind-hearted 
nature of the Queen that the King at this time 
finally signed the decree which buried the hatchet 
of the revolution in Seville, and allowed all people 
to return to their native land ; and it was by this 

113 H 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

deed that the beautiful young Queen gained a 
surer hold on the hearts of her subjects. 

Cristina was, moreover, relieved from the 
presence of Calomarde on the recovery of the King, 
for, as he could no longer expect the favour or con- 
fidence of his Sovereigns, he left Spain for France, 
and there remained until the day of his death. 

It was on October 19 that Ferdinand and 
Cristina returned to the capital after all the events 
which had so surely sifted true friends from false 
flatterers. The atmosphere seemed clearer ; the 
King saw that it was necessary to make Cristina 
Regent during his daughter's minority, and with 
this triumph of her authority Cristina wore the 
bright and joyous look of a tender wife, a loving 
mother, a heroic Queen, and the liberator of Spain. 

Ferdinand was certainly a wreck after his severe 
illness. As Don Carlos said, " he was more a 
corpse than a man" ; but he was alive, and, after 
that terrible moment when Cristina had thought 
she was alone and unprotected with the dead body 
of her husband, the fact of his being by her side 
gave her a sense of protection. 

The entry of the Sovereigns into Madrid was 
followed by a manifesto from the Queen, in which 
she set forth her love to Spain, and a declaration 
was published by the King, in which he annulled 
the codicil which would have abrogated the Prag- 
matic Sanction. After stating the facts of the 
Pragmatic Sanction, the King said : 

" Perfidy completed the horrible plot which 
sedition commenced. . . . Being conversant now 


Maria Cristina, Ferdinand's Fourth Wife 

with the falsity with which the loyalty of my 
beloved Spaniards was calumniated, as they are 
always faithful to the descendants of their Kings ; 
and being quite persuaded that it is not in my 
power, nor in my desires, to break with the im- 
memorial custom of the succession established 
for centuries past, sanctioned by the law, and 
followed by the illustrious heroines who have 
preceded me on the throne ; and solicited by the 
unanimous votes of the kingdoms, and free now 
from the influence and coercion of those fatal 
circumstances I declare solemnly of my own free 
will that the decree signed at the time of my 
illness was torn from me by surprise, and that it 
was the effect of the false terrors which upset me, 
and that it is now null and void, being contrary 
to the fundamental laws of the monarchy and the 
obligations which I owe my august descendants, 
as father and as King. 

" In my Palace of Madrid, 

"December 31, 1832." 

Ferdinand's feeling for his wife was shown in 
the public letter of gratitude which was published 
soon after his return to Madrid. It ran thus : 

t( The King to my very dear and beloved Wife, 

the Queen. 

" During the very grave and painful illness with 
which the Divine Providence saw fit to afflict me, 
the constant care and inseparable companionship 
of Your Majesty have been my consolation and 
delight. I never opened my eyes without seeing 
you by my side, and finding palliatives for my pain 

115 H 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

in your face and words ; I never received food 
which did not come from your hand. It is to you 
I owe consolation in my afflictions and the assuage- 
ment of my pain. Weakened by so much suffering, 
and condemned to a long and tedious convales- 
cence, I then gave you the reins of government, so 
that the despatch of business should not be de- 
layed; and it is with joy that I have seen the 
singular wisdom and diligence with which you have 
directed them, and have abundantly justified my 
confidence. All the decrees that you have expe- 
dited have been to advance public education, to 
dry the tears of the unhappy, or to increase the 
general prosperity and the receipts of my Ex- 
chequer. In fine, all your determinations have, 
without exception, pleased me much as the wisest 
and the best for the happiness of the people. 

" Recovered from my illness, I once more take 
over the affairs, and I give Your Majesty the most 
heartfelt thanks for your zeal in my assistance, 
and for your efficiency in the government. 

" The gratitude for such signal offices, which will 
always live in my heart, will be a fresh stimulus 
and justification for the love with which your 
talents and virtues have inspired me from the 

" I am proud, and congratulate myself that you 
have not only been the delight of the Spanish 
people since your advent to the throne, but you 
have given me joy and peace, and are now an 
example of wifely solicitude to wives and a model 
of administration to Queens. 

"In the Palace, etc." 

Maria Cristina, Ferdinand's Fourth Wife 

In another decree the King commanded a medal 
to be struck in commemoration of the actions with 
which the Queen had immortalized his name. 

It was indeed an affecting sight to see the way 
in which the King clung to his domestic happiness 
at the decline of his life. Seated in his large gilded 
chair, he smiled with pleasure at his children, 
and he followed every movement of his wife 
with eyes in which love and gratitude were 
evident. In the light of this love the cruel and 
self-interested influence of the camarilla was weak- 
ened. His nervous nature found repose in the firm 
counsels of Cristina, and, with the confidence with 
which she inspired him, he had no need to resort to 
the duplicity which is so often born of distrust. 

But a secret power was at work in the provinces, 
where the Bishop of Leon sought to work the 
people up in favour of the Carlists, whilst pretend- 
ing devotion to the King. ' What name can be 
so sweet to me as the monarch's?" he said " a 
monarch to whom I owe all, and from whom I have 
received confidences in matters of grave impor- 
tance which I cannot reveal, and therefore I know 
how much he desires the order and tranquillity of 
his people." 

When the time drew near for the administration 
of the oath to Isabel as heir to the throne, Ferdi- 
nand sent a letter to Don Carlos to ask if it was his 
intention to attend the ceremony or not. To this 
question the Infante replied that his conscience 
and his honour would not permit him to be present 
at the function, as he could not resign his legiti- 
mate rights to the throne in the event of his brother 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

dying without a male heir. God had given him 
these rights at his birth, and he hoped his brother 
would explain the reason of his absence to the other 
Sovereigns at the ceremony. 

To this communication Ferdinand replied : 


CHARLES OF MY HEART, I have received your 
letter of the 2gth ult., and I am glad to see that 
you and your wife and your children are well. 
We are the same, thank God. I have always 
known how much you have loved me, and I 
believe you know the affection which I have 
for you. But I am father and King, and I have 
to consider my rights and those of my children, 
as well as those of my crown^ I do not wish 
to thwart the dictates of your conscience, nor 
can I hope to dissuade you from your pretended 
rights ; as, being founded on a determination of men, 
God alone can change them. But my love as a 
brother impels me to avoid the disagreeables which 
would attend you in a country where your sup- 
posed rights are not recognized, and the duties of 
a King oblige me to remove the presence of an 
Infante whose pretensions might serve as a pre- 
text to malcontents. So, as you cannot, for high 
political reasons, and by the laws of the kingdom, 
and for the sake of the tranquillity of the country, 
return to Spain, I give you permission to travel 
henceforward with your family in the Pontifical 
States, acquainting me with your destination and 
the place of your residence. 

" One of my men-of-war will arrive shortly at 


Maria Cristina, Ferdinand's Fourth Wife 

Lisbon to take you. Spain is independent of all 
action and foreign influence in what concerns 
internal arrangements, and I should be acting 
against the free and complete sovereignty of my 
throne, and against the principle of non-interven- 
tion adopted by the Cabinets of Europe, were I 
to make the communication you ask me to make 
in your letter. 

" Good-bye, my dear Charles ; believe me that 
you have been loved, you are loved, and you will 
be always loved, by your most affectionate and 
unchangeable brother, 


It was thus that Don Carlos made himself an 
exile, and the two brothers, who had always been 
together in the many vicissitudes of their lives, 
were now parted for ever. 

To the King in his declining days it was doubt- 
less a grief to be so separated from one with whom 
he had always shared his thoughts, and on whom 
he had so much depended. The companionship of 
Don Carlos during his years of enforced residence 
at Valengay had saved him being forlorn. How- 
ever, the bright and -cheerful society of Cristina 
during these days, when the letters of Don Carlos 
showed how irreparable was the breach between 
the brothers, was a great solace to the King. 

The Queen was always energetic, bright, and 
busy. The painting of " Cupid and Psyche " by 
her own hand, given to the Academy of San 
Fernando, showed her talent for art ; and her 
interest in literature was seen in her asking Fer- 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

dinand to have a bust of Cervantes placed on the 
front of the house of the great author. Moreover, 
the School of Music owed its foundation to the 
same royal patroness. 

The ceremony of the administration of the 
oath to Isabel, as heir to the throne, finally took 
place with all the pomp and ceremony for which 
the Court of Spain is so famous. The King and 
Queen stayed the night preceding the function 
at the house called San Juan, in the Buen Retiro, 
and from thence they proceeded in state to the 
same Church of San Geronimo where Ferdinand 
himself received the oath of allegiance in 1833, 
and where our Princess Ena became the bride of 
Alfonso XIII. Gentiles hombres, grandees, and 
generals, made a brilliant procession. Then came 
the Infantes Don Francisco and Don Sebastian, 
followed by Their Majesties, walking on either side 
of the heir-apparent, Princess Isabel, who was 
carried in the arms of a lady-in-waiting. The 
procession concluded with the Ambassadors and 
Chamberlains, and the Royal Guard playing the 
national air. 

The Patriarch of the Indias was seated in front 
of the high-altar to receive the oath, which was 
read aloud by a Camarista de Castillo, . 

The Infantes came in turn to the altar, where 
they knelt and repeated the words of alle- 
giance. Then they each Jdssed the hand of 
His Majesty, who threw his arms round their 
necks ; and they then kissed the hands of the 
Queen and the Princess, and returned to their 
seats. The same order of procedure was then 


Maria Cristina, Ferdinand's Fourth Wife 

followed by the other Infantes, Cardinals, Arch- 
bishops and Bishops, grandees and dignitaries ; 
and, the ceremony over, the city was gay with 

A long correspondence then took place between 
the royal brothers, when Don Carlos declined to 
leave the Peninsula. 

As Don Carlos was favoured by the Jesuits of 
Spain, the plots of the party were incessant ; and 
in the palace itself the intrigues of the party were 
seen in the Royal Guard. 

It was on July 29 that Ferdinand died. He had 
been left alone with the Queen to rest, when he 
was seized with a sudden attack of apoplexy. 
As the death was so sudden, the Queen, remember- 
ing the recent occasion when the alarm was false, 
said she would not have the bo'dy touched for 
forty-eight hours. ^ 

At last the poor King was laid in state in the 
Salon of the Ambassadors, and the-iuneral took 
place at the Escorial. 

" Sefior ! Sefior ! Sefior I" cried the Duke of 
Alagon, the Captain of the Guards of the Royal 
Person ; and as the solemn silence following 
these cries was unbroken, the Captain said, " As 
you do not reply, senor, you are really dead," 
and then broke his wand of office and placed it 
at the foot of the table on which lay the remains 
of his royal master. 





THE testimony of Ferdinand to Maria Cristina's 
fidelity and devotion was indeed true, and, as the 
Queen said afterwards to her daughter Isabel, 
when pleading with her not to sacrifice duty to 
inclination, she herself had never wavered an 
instant in her loyalty to the King, in spite of the 
difference of their ages, and the tax upon her time 
and temper from his bad health and exacting ways. 
Even a Court bristling with intrigue could find no 
word of complaint against the Queen in her 
matrimonial relations with the King ; and her 
grief was very genuine when she found herself a 
widow, with her two little girls. When General 
Cordova came to pay his respects to the Queen, 
he found her weeping bitterly, and the sight of 
the poor woman's tears did more to win him over 
to her side than any arguments of policy, so he 
roundly declared that as he had been loyal to 
the father, so he would be faithful to the daughters. 
When General Prim was invested as a grandee, 
on his return to Spain after his glorious campaign, 
he declared it was his first duty to do homage to 



^ jm 


To face page 122 

Maria Cristina as Regent and as Wife of Mufioz 

his Queen and her Ministers for having raised 
him to such rank that he could consort with the 
noblest in the land. " It is the duty of a general/' 
he added, " as that of every soldier, to serve his 
Queen and country with all possible loyalty, and 
therefore I will defend your rights to the throne 
to the last drop of my blood and the last breath 
of my body." 

But Maria Cristina was not always surrounded 
by loyal subjects, for the clerical partisans of Don 
Carlos made her position very precarious. Men 
who had declared themselves Liberals became lax 
in their allegiance, and her only hope of saving 
the crown for her child was to bend to the wide- 
spread desire for the Constitution of 1812. 

The Marquis of Miraflores, who was Ambassador 
of Spain in England at the time of the coronation 
of Queen Victoria, writes : 

" Hardly was the corpse of the monarch cold 
when the Queen-Regent did me the honour of 
seeing me ; and it was at this critical moment 
that I heard her say, amid her tears and sobs : 
' Nobody desires more than I do the welfare of 
the Spaniards, and for that I will do all that I 
can ; and where I do not, it will be because I 
cannot/ ' 

And Miraflores also says, in his " Contem- 
poraneous History," that he had himself heard the 
King, referring to the codicil to his will by which 
the throne would have gone to Don Carlos, say 
that, both as a King and a father, he would have 
done wrong had this act not been abrogated. 

The outbreak of cholera in the city soon after 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

the King's death cast additional gloom on the 
capital. Cristina's partisans declared that the 
clerical party had poisoned the water, and a 
young man who was said to have been seen throw- 
ing powder into the fountain which was then in 
the Puerta del Sol was assassinated on the spot. 
Such animosity was stirred up against the clerics 
that the monasteries were invaded, and the friars 
killed at the very altars ; and these deeds were not 
limited to the capital. Indignation against these 
attacks on the clerics added force to the Carlists 
in the north. 

Martinez Rosa's position as Prime Minister was 
fraught with difficulty. It was characteristic of 
the courage of the Queen-Regent that in such a 
time of danger and dissension she calmly repaired 
from the Pardo to Madrid to fulfil her duty of 
opening the Parliament. 

It was very soon after this act that Don Carlos, 
in defiance of all political obligations, appeared 
in Madrid to join his troops ; and Miraflores 
advised the Queen putting herself at the head of 
her army. 

The immense power of the secret societies in 
Spain was now seen in La Granja. The Govern- 
ment flattered itself that the Royal Guard, at 
least, was proof against the power of these unions 
which permeated the country, and the Queen- 
Regent was considered safe with her little daugh- 
ters in the Palace of San Ildefonso, with its 
barracks flanking the fine promenade in front of 
the royal domain. But the secret societies had 
gauged the force of money, and 12,000 crowns, 


iria Cristina as Regent and as Wife of Munoz 

distributed among those who were bound in 
honour to defend their Sovereign, were found 
sufficient to cause an insurrection of six or seven 
hundred soldiers within the precincts of the 
royal palace itself. 

A hundred and fifty grenadiers on horseback 
sought to quell the emeute, but their superior 
officers seemed powerless to still the ever-increasing 
cries of " Hurrah for the Constitution !" " Death 
to Quesada and San Roman !" " Hurrah for 
England !" Maria Cristina was terrified at this 
unexpected uproar at her own gates, especially 
when she found herself obliged to receive a deputa- 
tion of sergeants and soldiers, who pressed for 
an audience within the palace. In this historic 
scene the Queen was attended by Barrio Ayuso, 
the Minister of Grace and Justice ; the Duke of 
Alagon, the Captain of the Guards, who had been 
such a favourite of the late King ; the Count of 
San Roman; the Marquis of Cerralbo^; and the 
commanding officers of the regiments. 

The deputation was plain and curt in its demand 
that the Queen-mother should at once sign the 
Constitution of Cadiz of 1812. Maria Cristina 
sought to temporize by promising that the Cortes, 
which was about to open, would take the matter 
into consideration. But the insurgents insisted 
on their demand, so she sent them into the ante- 
chamber whilst she consulted with her advisers 
in the salon. 

It was two o'clock in the morning when the 
deputation again appeared in the presence of the 
Queen, and in this audience the insolent and 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

threatening tones of the leaders were emphasized 
by the accompanying cries and constant gun- 
shots of the rebels without. 

In this state of things, Barrio Ayuso resigned 
his portfolio, and the Mayor of the place also 
offered his resignation ; and Izaga there and then 
drew up and presented to the Queen for signature 
the following decree : 

" As Queen-Regent of Spain, I order and com- 
mand that the political Constitution of 1812 be 
published ; and in the meantime the nation will 
express its will in the Cortes on another Constitu- 
tion in conformity with the necessities of the 


Maria Cristina read the paper, and in despair 
put her name to it. 

The rebels were not, however, contented with 
Maria Cristina signing this document. They in- 
sisted on the chiefs of the palace also swearing 
allegiance to it in front of the banners ; and then, 
contented with their work, the rebels finally left 
the palace at four o'clock in the morning. 

This was one of the most bitter experiences in 
the life of the Queen-Regent ; and Barrio Ayuso's 
laconic message to Madrid " Send help at once, 
or I don't know what will befall Their Majesties " 
showed that in his opinion the Royal Family was 
in real danger. 

By permission of a hurriedly summoned Council 
of Ministers, General Roman summoned the troops, ' 
but enthusiastic cries for the Constitution and \ 
Liberty were mingled with " Vivas " for the ) 


Maria Cr 

aria Cristina as Regent and as Wife of Munoz 

Queen and the Queen-mother ; and when the 
soldiers filed past the palace, its shuttered win- 
dows were eloquent of the terror which reigned 

It must have been with a heavy heart that 
Maria Cristina waited in La Granja till the time 
came for her to go to Madrid, for there were 
divisions amid the revels as to what she was to 
be permitted to do. Those hundred hours of 
deep humiliation and disillusion as to her in- 
fluence in the land left their mark upon her face. 
The winged figures and mythological groups of 
statuary in the beautiful Italian gardens of the 
palace must have mocked her, with their air of 
jubilation, as she walked to and fro on the terrace 
and thought over her position ; and the fountain, 
topped with the figure of the flying Pegasus drain- 
ing the goblet of joy, was symbolical of the 
draughts of popularity which she had quaffed, 
until now there was nothing but the dregs of 

At last, after much discussion with the rebels, 
the Queen-Regent set out for Madrid, after both 
Villiers, the English Ambassador, and the French 
Minister, had frankly explained to her the danger 
of withstanding the evident will of the nation 
with regard to the Constitution. 

It was at this time that the gallant Espartero 
appeared upon the scene. The danger threaten- 
ing Madrid brought him by forced marches to 
the city, where he led eleven battalions and 
several squadrons in review before the palace. 

The severe rebuke administered in the Congress 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

by General Sevanes to the commanding officers 
whose sergeants had rebelled at La Granja 
against all royal authority led to a duel between 
the speaker and Captain Fernando Fernandez 
de Cordova, in which the General was wounded. 

Madrid was soon threatened by another revolu- 
tion, for Don Carlos appeared before the city, 
with a large number of followers, but, annoyed 
at the threat, 20,000 citizens armed themselves 
in defence of their Queens. This remarkable 
body of loyal subjects was reviewed in the morn- 
ing on which they assembled by the Infante Don 
Francisco ; and when the Queen-mother, accom- 
panied by Isabel, who was then seven years old, 
and her little sister, drove down the lines of 
Royalists in the afternoon, the enthusiasm of 
the assembly was intense. 

When Espartero arrived at Madrid, Don Carlos 
withdrew from the capital, and from that time 
the General became the most influential man in 
the kingdom, though he had a powerful rival in 
Don Ramon Maria Narvaez. 

It was certain that a Government which had 
witnessed twice in one year peril at the hand of 
rebels could hardly be called successful, and 
Espartero thought to put it on a more secure 
basis by instituting military rule. He seems to 
have wished to act the part of a Roman military 
consul, and the fact" of Narvaez leading eleven 
battalions past the Palace of Madrid aroused his 
jealousy to a great degree. 

Don Carlos, whose wife had died in England in 
1834, now > i n ^SS, married the Princess of Beira, 


From a Painting by Casado del Alisal 

To face f age 128 

Maria Cristina as Regent and as Wife of Munoz 

and when this lady came to Madrid she boldly pro- 
claimed herself the Queen of Spain, and the eldest 
son of Don Carlos the Prince of Asturias. The effect 
of two Courts in the country was most disastrous, 
and, in this fresh struggle with the Portuguese 
Princess, Maria Cristina did not have the support 
of her sister Luisa Carlota, as in the early days 
of her arrival in Spain, when the same lady had, 
with her sister, been so jealous of her popularity 
in Spain ; for Luisa Carlota, who had, indeed, been 
instrumental in the marriage of Maria Cristina 
to King Ferdinand, and who had always been 
the ally of her sister, was no longer on friendly 
terms with her. 

The main reason for this quarrel with the 
Queen-Regent was evidently her secret marriage 
with Don Fernando Munoz, whose rapid rise in 
the royal favour savoured very much of that of 
Godoy with Queen Maria Luisa. 

The story of this passion of Ferdinand's widow 
is graphically told in an unpublished manuscript 
by a Don Fermin Caballero, who was a contem- 
porary of the episode. 

Born in 1806, in Naples, Maria Cristina had 
had a very poor education, as her father, Fran- 
cisco I. of the Two Sicilies, and her mother, Marie 
Isabel, Infanta of Spain, thought that much 
intellectual work was unnecessary for a girl, and 
the rollicking, jovial maiden herself preferred the 
pleasures of horsemanship and hunting to any kind 
of brain-work. 

Gossip was busy with the name of the handsome 
Princess in connection with that of Luchessi 

129 i 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Bailen before her marriage with Ferdinand, but 
from the time she came to Spain as the wife of 
Ferdinand VI I. until three months after his death 
there was not a word to be said against her, as she 
was a model wife and mother. Her buxom form, 
clad in the brown garb of a Sister of the Carmelite 
Order, was never absent from the bedside of her 
husband, and for two months after his death she 
duly mourned his loss. 

But the reaction came. The simple, somewhat 
ignorant, but affectionate nature of Maria Cristina 
was captivated by Mufioz, who certainly could 
not be said to belong to the upper classes, as his 
parents kept a tobacco-shop ; and it was as the 
friend of the fiance of the dressmaker Teresita, 
who exercised so much power over the Queen, 
that the young man was found a place at Court. 
The Queen's new friend was bald, common, and 
of poor education, but the influence of his royal 
patroness soon raised him to be an officer of the 

It was abdut five months after Ferdinand's 
death that Maria Cristina impetuously took the 
reins of her destiny into her own hands, and on 
December 17, 1833, she gave voice to her inten- 
tion to go to La Granja, under the escort of the 
Adjutant-General, Don Francisco Arteaga y Pala- 
fox, General of the Guards, the N gentil hombre 
Carbonell, and the honoured Mufioz. By chance 
or by arrangement, the favourite had the place 
in front of the Queen, and the party proceeded 
on the way. But the snow was so heavy that the 
* " Estafeta del Palacio Real," by Bermejo. 

Maria Cristina as Regent and as Wife of Mufioz 

road from the height of Navacerrada was quite 
impassable, and they had to turn back, though 
not before the royal carriage had collided with a 
bullock-cart, loaded with wood, and the broken glass 
of one of the windows had cut the hand of the Queen. 

The three gentlemen were all loud in their 
sympathy, but it was the handkerchief of Munoz 
which Cristina accepted, and she also distinguished 
him by allowing him to bandage her hand. Un- 
daunted by the return to the capital rendered 
necessary by reason of the weather, the Queen 
commanded the same party to be in attendance 
for the same expedition on the following day. 

As Arteaga and Carbonell watched their royal 
mistress and Mufioz on the long drive to Segovia, 
they saw that this expedition, undertaken with- 
out the attendance of any lady, signified a very 
serious predilection on the part of the Queen for 
the parvenu; 

The carriage finally turned from the intermin- 
able road across the plain, which separates Segovia 
from La Granja, into the estate of Quitapesares, 
whose gates open on to the Spanish chestnut-lined 

When the party took a walk in the gardens in 
the afternoon, the Queen soon suggested some 
commission to Carbonell, and Arteaga was also dis- 
missed on the plea of an umbrella being wanted 
from the palace. 

Thus designedly left alone with Mufioz, the 
Queen soon made known to him her royal favour. 

" Who is a greater prisoner than a Princess ?" 
the Queen may have exclaimed, says Don Fermin 

131 i 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Caballero, " for she can never descend to the honest 
level of an ordinary woman to show her feelings 
and her inclinations with the honourable liberty 
dictated by the noble sentiment of her heart ? 
Why should the glitter of a crown oblige me to 
stifle the purest and most disinterested feelings, 
which must necessarily bring upon me the disdain 
of those of my rank and the murmurs of the multi- 
tude ? Do not let my words surprise and shock 
you, Fernando. My young heart requires a solace 
for the onerous weight of my affairs. It longs for 
the contact of a living soul to assuage the continual 
pain caused by the ambition of men and their 
party interests. It can never be said that in 
search of this consolation I turned my eyes to the 
brilliant position of a royal personage, or to the 
support of any of the great captains who defend 
my daughter's throne, or to the influence of any of 
those occupied with the cares of the State. No, 
modest in my aspirations, and only obedient to the 
impulses of my heart, I have fixed upon a modest 
soldier in whose sympathy I believe I can trust. 
Yes, Ferdinand Mufioz, nothing need restrain you 
from accepting the hand of the Queen-Regent of 
Spain, who is disposed to grant it you/' 

' Your hand as a wife ?" asked Munoz in 
astonishment. And Cristina replied : " What else 
do you think ? Have I, like other unhappy Prin- 
cesses, prostituted the throne by the caprice of 
a disordered appetite ? Did you imagine, at the 
commencement of my discourse, that for the satis- 
faction of a voluptuous feeling I pursued gallantry 
to the injury of honesty ? Did you think that I 


Maria Cristina as Regent and as Wife of Mufioz 

did not foresee from the first that religion must 
sanctify the bond which I desire ? Is she, who 
was chaste and severe as the wife of Ferdinand, to 
be wanting in morality as his widow ? My heart 
is only vexed that State reasons prevent my 
making public my modest inclinations." 

The soldier knelt in gratitude and adoration 
before the Queen who had distinguished him in 
such an unmerited fashion. 

So when Cristina was satisfied with the result of 
her declaration, she took one or two others into her 
confidence, and on December 28, 1833, the mor- 
ganatic marriage of the widowed Queen with the 
gentil hombre Don Fernando Mufioz took place at 
ten o'clock in the morning, the witnesses being 
Herrera y Acebedo and the cleric Gonzalez, who 
left a bed of sickness to perform the ceremony. 
Teresa Valcarcel and a lady in retreat called 
Antonia were the other witnesses of the rite. 

The fact of this event, if not actually known by 
all the Court, was surmised, for Munoz was seen 
wearing the cravat pins of the late Ferdinand ; he 
had a room in the palace, a magnificent carriage ; 
he dined with the Queen, and he was seen driving 
with her as an equal ; moreover, he was created 
Duke of Rianzares, decorated with the Order 
of the Golden Fleece, and raised to the rank of 
grandee of the first order. 

It was certainly a marriage which, if wanting in 
class distinction, was not failing in morality. The 
Queen-mother was now so taken up with " Fer- 
nando VIII.," as he was called, that she preferred 
the more private life of the royal country-seats to 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

that of the palace of the capital. So on March 15, 
1834, we find her at Aranjuez, at Carabanchel on 
June n, and then at La Granja, whose beautiful 
gardens formed a fitting scene for the happiness 
she had found with Munoz. It was at Pardo that 
her child was born, and to an affectionate nature 
like Cristina's the obedience to the law of circum- 
stances, which took the baby from the mother's 
arms, cost her many a tearful and sleepless night. 
The little daughter was confided to the care of the 
widow of the administrator Villarel, who had 
settled at Segovia, and for this reason La Granja 
was the favourite resort of the Queen- Regent, as 
she could have her child brought to her to Quita- 
pesares, the beautiful estate on the road to the 
palace, where she had wooed its father. 

Dona Teresa Valcarcel, the daughter of the Court 
dressmaker, was, as we have said, the great confi- 
dante of Queen Maria Cristina, and it was as her 
friend that she first met Mufioz, who soon exercised 
such a fascination over her. 

When Teresa accompanied the Queen to 
Bayonne, she sent letters to her mother with the 
official correspondence, and the well-known leader 
of a gang of thieves, Luis Candelas, having dis- 
covered this fact, determined, with the complicity 
of a man in the employment of the dressmaker, to 
turn the fact to his advantage. Calling one day 
in the uniform of an official, the servant introduced 
him as an agent of the French post. The dress- 
maker was rather astonished at the visit, but she 
admitted him. Hardly had he entered the room 
than he was followed by others, and Candelas 

Maria Cristina as Regent and as Wife of Mufioz 

declared he had come to inspect the place. This 
act the dressmaker declared was illegal except in 
presence of the Mayor. Then, casting off all dis- 
guise, the robber and his gang proceeded to pillage 
the place, pocketing all the j ewels and money they 
could find. Two ladies who called at this time 
were bound and gagged like the modiste and her 

The robbery proved considerable, and the fact of 
its having taken place in the house of the Queen's 
dressmaker led to strong steps being taken for the 
capture of this Spanish Robin Hood. For be it 
known, that although the adventurer openly took 
all he could lay hands on, he never shed blood or 
injured anybody if he could help it. 

The efforts of justice were successful, and the fact 
of the robbery being connected with the corre- 
spondence of the Queen- Regent led to the removal 
of the scourge from the capital, for hitherto the 
police of Madrid paid little heed to these open 
attacks against the safety and the property of the 

Candelas was publicly hanged on December 6, 
1837, but his partner in his burglarious campaigns 

Of course, the luxurious carriage in which the 
child visited its mother, and the care which at- 
tended the drive from Segovia, opened the eyes of 
the people to the relation between Cristina and her 
little visitor, and the coach would be followed by 
cries of " There goes the Queen's daughter !" 

In the revolution of the sergeants in August, 
1836, Mufioz was in the Palace of La Granja, but he 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

did not make his appearance on the scene, as he 
was not supposed to be there. The apartments in 
which he spent his time with his wife were com- 
monly termed " Munoz's cage/' and on the night 
of the insurrection he escaped from the royal 
domain by the channels and conduits of the 

But the time spent thus with Mufioz in the royal 
retreats was not of unmixed joy; for whilst the 
Queen sought to please her husband and his rela- 
tion by playing lottery with them, or battledore 
and shuttlecock with the chaplain, Mufioz soon 
showed that he preferred going out after pretty 
girls with the Duke of San Carlos. Naturally this 
conduct fired the heart of the Queen-Regent with 
jealousy, and, woman-like, she gave vent to her 
pique by allowing a play called " Making Love to 
a Wig " to be acted in the Conservatoire of Fine 
Arts, for the play made humorous allusions to the 
baldness of Mufioz. 

The disaffection of her sister, the Infanta Luisa 
Carlota, was a fresh trouble to Maria Cristina, who 
was experiencing so many disillusions both in her 
private and public life. Naturally the sister, who 
had been so proud of the position to which she had 
been instrumental in bringing the Queen, was much 
aggrieved at the wild fancy shown for Fernando 
Mufioz. She called Cristina the " Mufionista," 
and, in virtue of what she termed the nullity of 
Cristina' s position to be guardian to her daughter, 
she proposed herself and her husband as those 
fitted for the office. This fact outraged the poor 
Queen-Regent both as a wife and as a mother, and 



Maria Cristina as Regent and as Wife of Munoz 

her anger was shown by her declining to authorize 
the appointment of her brother-in-law, Don 
Francisco de Paula, as a senator. 

Thus war between^the sisters was declared, and 
Luisa Carlota sought by every means to enlist the 
support of the powerful Espartero in her favour. 

At this time there was some talk of the marriage 
of Isabel with a Prince of the House of Coburg. 
The report was without foundation ; but the 
Infante Don Francisco sent for the Spanish 
Ambassador in Paris, and made a solemn declara- 
tion of his disfavour to any project of the Princess 
marrying with any but a Spaniard. The Am- 
bassador was accompanied in the interview by his 
secretary, and he sent the Infante's message to 
Madrid, adding his own opinion in its favour, and 
this was echoed by the Queen and the Government. 

In the meantime Don Carlos was obliged by the 
foreign diplomats and Vergara to retire to the 
frontier of Spain, so the country once more settled 
down under the Queen. 

But Espartero was the ruling power. The soldier 
who, but six short years before, had arrived in 
Madrid to take his orders as a brigadier officer was 
now Captain-General of the Army, Count of 
Luchana, Duke of Victoria and Morella, held 
decorations of the highest order, including that of 
the Golden Fleece, and was a grandee of Spain. 

The enthusiasm for Espartero was unbounded, 
for not only was the country grateful for the way 
he had led the royal troops to the rout of the 
Carlist companies in the North, and thus put an 
end to the long Seven Years' Civil War, but he 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

represented the Progressive party, which was 
favoured by England. 

Queen Maria Cristina wished to share the popu- 
larity of the hero, and so she arranged to meet 
him at Lerida, on her way to Barcelona, under 
the pretext that sea-baths were required for her 
daughter Isabella. In the interview with the 
General, the Queen suggested that he should take 
the post of Prime Minister ; but this honour the 
soldier declined, unless the Congress were closed 
and the Bill for the election of the Mayors of the 
Corporations by royal order abandoned, as it was 
contrary to the Constitution of 1837. These 
conditions the Queen declined, and she did not 
see Espartero again until he entered the Cata- 
lonian capital in triumph, after giving the final 
blow to Carlism by the rout of Cabrera at Berga. 
The ovation given to the General was tremendous. 
" Viva Espartero ! Viva la Constitution ! Down 
with the Law of the Corporations ! Down with 
the Government !" came the cries from the 

The Queen-Regent was alarmed, and it is said 
on good authority that she sent for the Count 
of Lucena, the wzarre Don Leopold O'Donnell, 
and told him of te difficulty. 

' Well, you have only to send for a company 
of grenadiers to shoot Espartero/' said the leader 
of the Moderate party ; to which Maria Cristina 
returned : " Be silent ! You frighten me." 

At last the military hero arrived at the palace, 
which then stood where there are now some little 
houses, opposite the old Custom-house. 



To face page 138 

Maria Cr 

ria Cristina as Regent and as Wife of Mufioz 

The interview seems to have been somewhat 
stormy. Maria Cristina is reported to have said : 

I have made you a Count, and I have made 
you a Duke, but I cannot make you a gentle- 

At last the Queen-Regent had to submit, and 
she had to agree to the conditions under which 
Espartero was willing to accept the post of Prime 

On August 21 there was a meeting in Barcelona 
for the purpose of manifesting loyalty to Maria 
Cristina, and when the Queen-Regent appeared 
in her carriage, with her little daughters, the 
leaders of the meeting exclaimed : " This is the 
true expression, lady, of the opinions of Barce- 
lona !" It was commonly known as the " frock- 
coat meeting/' as it consisted of those of a 
superior class ; but the confusion caused by the 
' blouse " people led to a cessation of the cries 
of ' Viva la Reina !" The matter would have 
blown over if Francisco Baimes, a lawyer partisan 
of the Queen-Regent, and Manuel Bosch de 
Torres, had not been shot in a street fray on the 
following day. 

Then, unfortunately for Maria Cristina, she 
acted under the advice of the French Ambassador, 
M. de Redotte, who came to pay her his respects 
in the Palace of Barcelona, and declined to dis- 
solve the Cortes or to withdraw the project for 
the Corporation elections by royal decree. 

Maria Cristina was evidently now very un- 

* Series of biographies of Spanish generals published in 
La Vanguardia during 1907. 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

popular, and the press was full of calumnious 
attacks about her secret marriage with Munoz. 

When, moreover, the Ministry suggested that 
the Queen's post as Regent should be shared 
with Espartero, the Prime Minister, she proudly 
declared that, as she had decided to go abroad, 
it could be given to whom they thought fit. 

The scene was worthy of Maria Cristina as 
Queen and mother. Fate had been against her. 
She had failed where success had seemed so easy, 
and the most dignified thing was to leave the 
field to him who, she declared, whilst pretend- 
ing to maintain her influence, had never ceased 
to undermine it. So on August 28 the Queen- 
Regent left Barcelona for Valencia, without even 
bidding farewell to the Corporation. 

The parting between the Queen-Mother and her 
little girls was very sad, and, while going in the 
carriage of Espartero' s^ wife down to the port, 
she was eloquent in her injunctions to the General 
to protect her fatherless children ; and when the 
ship left the port, it was to leave Espartero 
practically master of the situation. 

The triumph of Espartero was accentuated by 
the banquet given in his honour on August 30, 
when he was given a crown of gold laurel-leaves. 

From Valencia Maria Cristina strove to form 
a new Ministry, but, though she would not ac- 
cept the Progressists' programme, she was finally 
obliged, to put the reins of power in Espartero's 
hands, who was proclaimed in Madrid sole Regent 
of Spain ; whilst Maria Cristina left her land 
for France. The well-known General O'Donnell 


Maria Cristina as Regent and as Wife of Munoz 

accompanied his royal mistress into exile, and 
remained with her till Espartero' s overthrow in 


So it was on October 12, 1840, that the royal 
children returned to Madrid for the opening of" 
Parliament under the new condition of affairs, 
in which Espartero was Regent. It was saTd 
that he had the same solicitous affection for the 
little Queen and her sister as he had for his own 
children. He certainly did well in appointing Don 
Manuel Jose Quintina, the illustrious poet, as 
preceptor to the Queen his charge, Agustin 
Argiielles as tutor-guardian, and Martin de los 
Heros as steward of the royal household. 

When Espartero had the Regency in his hands, 
he was practically ruler of the whole country, and 
this supremacy of an officer whose ideas of mili- 
tary rule left little room for constitutional liberty 
was bitterly resented by some of the other 
generals. Las Concha, Leon, and O'Donnell, 
formed the bold idea of getting possession of the 
persons of the young Princesses, so as to use them 
as a lever for a less autocratic form of govern- 
ment. Espartero was also opposed by the Carlists, 
and before many months had gone the bold design 
was formed, by the disaffected chief, of getting 
hold of the royal children, and putting them in 
the hands of the Moderate party, under Maria 
Cristina, who was under the protection of the 




1840 1846 

THE little Princesses now lived in the imposing 
Palace of Madrid, with all the retinue befitting 
their position, but far from the mother who, with 
all her faults, loved her little girls, and had only 
left them to save them from the greater losses 
with which they were threatened. Espartero, 
who was now a sort of Dictator of Spain, took up 
his residence in the Palace of Buena Vista, in the 
Alcala in Madrid, which is now the Ministry of 

The secret influence which was working in 
Madrid in favour of Luisa Carlota and her husband 
led to their being suggested as guardians to the 
royal children, in a little book called ' The 
Maternal Guardianship of H.M. Isabel II. and Her 
Royal Highness' s Sister, Maria Luisa Fernanda." 

But Government declared against the appoint- 
ment of personages who were known to nourish 
such hatred to the mother, who sent an indignant 
protest from Paris against the project. So 
Argiielles was appointed guardian, and in his 
choice of coadjutors certainly did his best to 


Queen Isabella's Girlhood 

improve the environment of the little Princesses. 
Of course the appointment caused much dis- 
content on some sides. The uncle and aunt 
declared that it was made in the desire to separate 
the Princesses from their relatives, and that it 
was wrong to put them under a man who had been 
an enemy of their father. 

Argiielles had indeed suffered at the hand of 
Ferdinand VII., who gave him seven years at 
Ceuta when he returned to Spain as King ; but this 
had only been for his political opinions. Indeed, 
the Minister was so eloquent that he was called 
''' the divine Argiielles." 

As the army reigned supreme, in the person 
of Espartero as Regent, the counter-influence of 
Argiielles in the palace was very beneficial. 

The Royal Guard, both outside and inside the 
palace, was now formed of the famous halberdiers, 
and it was on the night of October 7, 1841, that 
the valour of this body of soldiers was put to an 
unexpected test. 

General Don Manuel de la Concha and General 
Leon plotted with Queen Maria Cristina to get 
possession of the persons of the young Princesses, 
carry them off to France, and hand them over 
to Don Evaristo Perez de Castro and a Canon, a 
partisan of the ex-Regent, by whom they would 
be escorted to their mother in Paris ; and for this 
bold proceeding they had only a small number 
of soldiers. General Concha was to get possession 
of the person of the Regent, whilst General Leon 
was to carry off the Princesses from the palace. 
General Dulce was the guardian angel of the little 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

girls that night. He was standing on the landing 
of the grand staircase, when he saw a company of 
armed soldiers coming up the steps, under the 
command of a young lieutenant called Boria. 
' Where are you going ?" asked Dulce. 

" Where my duty takes me/' was the curt reply. 

" Then, you ought to stop your men in this 
shameful course ; you are young, and to-morrow 
you will repent your conduct." 

As he did not reply, Dulce checked his progress 
by putting his sword to his breast ; but the young 
man stepped aside, and cried with a loud voice : 
" Lads, fire !" 

But here General Concha interceded by ex- 
claiming : " Stop, Manolito, stop the firing ! For 
God's sake remember we are in Her Majesty's 
palace !" 

So the firing was stopped, and the little girls, 
alarmed at the noise, fell into each other's arms, 
and cried with fright, whilst the Countess of Mina 
strove to still their fears. The noise of firing was 
heard down the corridors and the staircases known 
by the names of those of the Lions and the Ladies. 
General Dulce was not content with quelling 
the invasion of the palace by firing down the 
chief staircase to prevent the ascent of any inter- 
loper, but, leaving Barrientos in command of half 
the Guard at that spot, he went with the other half 
into the Salon of the Ambassadors, and there fired 
on the insurgents from the windows, until the 
whole Plaza de la Armeria was swept free from any 
more possible invaders of the royal abode. 

In the meanwhile Boria, Don Diego Leon, and 


Queen Isabella's Girlhood 

others, were caught in the Campo del Moro, the 
gardens of the palace. No mercy was shown to 
the would-be perpetrators of such a deed as the 
kidnapping of the royal children, and Diego de 
Leon, who had been covered with laurels for his 
brilliant services in the civil war, was shot with 
his accomplices without demur. 

In the meanwhile General Espartero, in his 
Palace of la Buena Vista, was ignorant of the 
tragic scenes enacted at the palace until they were 
over. Brought thither by the sound of firearms, 
he arrived just as the insurrectionary force had 
been driven from the palace, and hastening up the 
staircase stained with blood, he found the royal 
children in their room weeping bitterly and much 
terrified, albeit at the time of the alarming scene 
they had shown more courage than could have 
been expected at such an early age. The Regent 
led the little girls to a window of the palace to still 
the fears of the people, who had hastened from all 
quarters at the noise of the firing, and the halber- 
diers who had defended their young Queen and 
her sister so bravely were all publicly applauded, 
promoted, and subsequently given the Cross of 
San Fernando. The fact of gunshot penetrating 
the royal apartment was unprecedented in history, 
and although the halberdiers pressed into the room 
to protect the royal children, they abstained from 
firing there on the invaders without, for fear of 
hurting those in their charge. When the Cortes 
opened, Espartero escorted the Princesses to the 
ceremony, and they were received with enthusi- 
astic demonstrations of loyalty. 

145 K 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

A short time afterwards Argiielles had to insist 
on the Order of the Palace, by which the French 
Ambassador was not allowed entry to the palace 
without official permission from the Regent. 

When the Infante Don Francisco and Luisa 
Carlota decided to go to Spain to see what personal 
influence could do in obtaining power over their 
nieces, the King of France did all he could'to pre- 
vent the fulfilment of the plan. Difficulties were 
put in the way of the illustrious travellers having 
horses for the journey, but Luisa Carlota ex- 
claimed : " This new obstacle will not stop us, as, if 
we can't get horses, we will go on foot." 

The exiled Queen-mother did all she could to 
influence her children against their aunt, and she 
placed within the leaves of a book of fashions, 
which she sent them from Paris, a paper which ran 
thus : " Do not trust that woman ! She causes 
nothing but disgrace and ruin. Her words are all 
lies ; her protestations of friendship are deceptions ; 
her presence is a peril. Beware, my child. Your 
aunt wants to get rule over your mind and your 
heart to deceive you, and to claim an affection totf 
which she is unworthy." s/h\ 

It was in 1842 that, eluding the vigilance of the * 
Countess of Mina, the lady-in-chief of the royal 
children, Luisa Carlota managed to see a good deal 
of her young niece Isabel. The Infanta constantly 
joined the young Queen in her walks, and, not con- 
tent with talking to the young girl about her cousin 
Don Francisco, so as to make her think of him as 
an eligible parti, she one day gave her niece a 
portrait of her son in his uniform as Captain of the 


Queen Isabella's Girlhood 

Hussars. This portrait Isabella was seen to show 
to her little sister, and so annoyed was the Mar- 
chioness of Belgida, the chief Lady-in- Waiting, at 
what she considered the breach of confidence' on 
the part of the Infanta, that she resigned her post. 
Argiielles had striven to warn Luisa Carlota against 
the imprudence of her course, for the question of 
the young Queen's marriage was one in which the 
dignity of the Government, the honour of the 
Queen, and the good name of the Regent, had all to 
be considered. Therefore any attempt to compro- 
mise the Queen by forcing any opinion from her 
which could not be based on experience was 
detrimental to all concerned. In the Cortes he 
said : ' I do not believe in absolute isolation for a 
young Queen, but I think she ought to be sur- 
rounded by those who will give her a good example 
of prudence and self-reflection." On the day that 
the Marchioness of Belgida's resignation was 
accepted the widowed Countess of Mina was raised 
to be a grandee of Spain of the first order and 
she was appointed to the post vacated by the 
Countess. Then, in pursuance of the opinion of 
:he Ministers, Espartero had the Princesses taken 
to Zaragossa so as to prevent further intrigues 
about the Queen's marriage. 

In the " Estafeta del Palacio Real," Antonio 
>ermejo compares Olozaga with Argiielles. " He 
was," he says, "austere like Argiielles, who might 
e a little brusque, but never had a word or a single 
phrase left the lips of this old man which could 
sully the purity of a Princess. Moreover, the new 
guardian of the Queen was so dense that he let a/I 
K/7- I4 7 K 2 


* " f< 

* -*P 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

book be circulated in the royal apartment, called 
' Theresa, the Philosopher/ which was said to be 
at the root of much of the light behaviour of our 
girls. Who allowed this book in the palace ? 
Whence came this vile work, calculated to pollute 
the throne of San Ferdinand ? Narvaez and 
Gonzalez Brabo saw the book lying on a chimney- 
piece in the palace, and they indignantly cast it 
into the fire. It was thus that people sought to 
shake the foundation of the throne ; it was thus 
that the seed of corruption was sown which 
resulted in so much weakness and failure !" 





THERE is doubtless truth in the opinion that the 
wish of the Government for the majority of the 
Queen to be declared at the age of thirteen instead 
of fourteen proceeded from the desire of self- 
interested personages to rid the country of the 
Regent, and hasten the time when the power would 
be fully in the hands of the young Sovereign, when 
it could be turned to the designs of the Moderates. 

This project soon took form by the Ministry pre- 
senting a petition to Isabella, saying : 

' The nation wishes and desires to be governed 
by Your Majesty yourself. Your Majesty will have 
heard the result of the vote taken in the Cortes 
which is about to assemble, and there the oath 
required by the Constitution from a constitutional 
monarch will be received by the same Cortes. " 

So on November 8, 1843, the proposal was 
carried by a majority of 157 over 16, and Queen 
Isabel was endowed with full power as Queen of the 
realm a Queen of only thirteen years of age, 
whose education had been grossly neglected, and 
who was inclined to follow the dictates of an 
undisciplined^sensual nature. 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Don Salustiano de Olozaga was then appointed 
President of the Ministry which had supported the 
deed, whilst Francisco Serrano, who was subse- 
quently to play such an important part in the 
history of Spain, remained Minister of War, and 
Frias Minister of the Marine. 

But on November 29 the nation was astounded 
by the publication in the Gazette of the decree for 
the dissolution of the Government which had put 
the full power in the young Queen's hand. 

The reason for this course was not far to seek. 
Olozaga was not only anxious to free himself from 
a Parliament with a majority of Moderates 
(Tories), but he wished to be freed from the 
influence of Narvaez, who represented the influence 
of the Queen-mother in the palace. It was the 
fact of this influence which had decided both 
Cortina and Madoz to refuse office. 

The fact of the Provisional Government having 
appointed Olozaga guardian of the young Queen 
showed that he was known to have great influence 
over her, and whilst holding that appointment he 
had been flattered by the grant of the decoration 
of the Golden Fleece. This distinction was de- 
clared by some to have been the outcome of his 
own astuteness, and it certainly made him un- 

The decree for the dissolution of the Parliament 
was promptly followed by incriminating whispers 
against the President of the Council. 

Mysterious allusions were made to Olozaga 
having been so wanting in respect to his Queen 
that he insisted with undue force on the dissolution 




Ministerial Difficulties in the Palace 

of the Parliament, and when she objected and 
wished to quit the apartment, he locked the door, 
and forcibly drew her back to the table, where he 
made her sign the document. 

' There are/' says Don Juan Rico y Amat, 
' those who say that this report was got up by 
the Moderates on the exaggerated story of the 
young Queen, as they wished to get him out of 
power ; but this theory is opposed by the difficulty 
of believing that a story which tended to lessen the 
dignity of the Crown could have arisen only 
through Isabella herself, and those acquainted with 
the Minister knew the story was in accordance 
with his imperious, impetuous nature, well known 
in the palace. It had, moreover, often been 
noticed that the Prime Minister had entered the 
royal apartments with a freedom unbefitting the 
respect due to royalty. 

Olozaga wrote to General Serrano, saying that 
the fact of the Queen sending him a letter saying 
she would be glad to have the decree, granted at 
the instance of Olozaga, returned to her, for the 
rectification of the first lines, saying, " For grave 
reason of my own I have just dissolved," etc., 
showed the absurdity of the invention that it had 
been obtained from her by force. " But if any- 
body," continued Olozaga, " still insists on such 
an idea, I will have the honour of suggesting a 
means whereby the truth will be declared in my 

None of the Moderates surrounding the Queen 
had the courage to seize the reins of government 
at this time of confusion, and Narvaez himself, 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

whose power in the palace was well known, and 
whose position as Captain-General of Madrid 
would have assured him of a large number of 
followers, hesitated to take the rudder of the 
deserted ship. 

Whilst all was hesitation in the audience 
chamber, a young man suddenly made his appear- 
ance, and passed with fearless step and bold 
bearing through the assembly of timorous people, 
right up to within two steps to the throne in the 
Salon of Ambassadors, and there assumed the 
leadership which was shunned by those who could 
have claimed it, by exclaiming in a loud, com- 
manding tone : " The Queen before all ! A revolu- 
tion or I ... " And thus by this^ splendid coup 
the premiership was taken by Gonzalez Brabo, a 
man almost unknown in Madrid, except for his 
talent as a journalist. 

His paper, El Guerigay, had been prohibited for 
its gross attacks on the Queen-mother, and his 
Liberal ideas were well known. The splendid 
coolness and courage with which this young man 
thus contravened the storm of revolution in the 
very palace itself was calculated to arouse the 
hatred of the populace, who had looked to a 
revolution as a reform in ail the conditions which 
make life burdensome. 

Thus three days later, when Gonzalez Brabo 
crossed the Plaza de Orierite for his audience with 
the Queen at the palace, his coach was stopped 
by a mob, and the threatening attitude of the 
people would have checked anyone less cool and 
determined in his course. * 


Ministerial Difficulties in the Palace 

The day of the reopening of the Congress 
after its suspension for the formation of the new 
Cabinet was a very anxious one, for it was clearly 
seen that the Queen had either been treated with 
flagrant disrespect or her report of the Minister's 
conduct had been untrue. 

The mace-bearers, with their plumed hats and 
their breasts bearing the embroidered arms of 
the city, were standing in statuesque immobility 
on their elevated places directly under the canopy 
at the head of the chamber. Every seat was 
filled ; the boxes had their full complement of 
ladies, and outsiders and representatives of the 
press crowded the gangways. The President of 
the Congress sat at the official table, flanked by 
his officials, and all was expectation when the 
slight, dapper figure of Brabo, dressed in black 
and bearing the scarlet portfolio of office under 
his arm, walked with determined step to the seat 
of honour on the black* bench of the Ministers, 
and from thence returned the astonished glances 
of the deputies with a scornful smile and a con- 
temptuous look. After waiting for the storm of 
dissentient remarks to subside, the Minister rose to 
his feet, and in clear, concise tones declared that 
he had been summoned by the Queen to the 
palace at 11.30 on November 3, and, being ad- 
mitted to the royal presence, he found that the 
audience included all the staff of the gentiles 
hombres, including General Domingo Dulce, who 
had distinguished himself so bravely on the night 
of the attempted kidnapping of the little Prin- 

* The Ministerial seats are now upholstered in blue. 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

cesses ; Don Maurice Carlos de Onis, President of 
the Senate ; the Duke of Rivas ; the Count of 
Ezpeleta; the Marquis of Pefiaflorida, and the 
Marquis of San Felices, Secretary of the Senate, 
with Don Pedro Jose Pidal, President of the 
Congress of Deputies, the President of the 
Academy of Languages, etc. The gathering also 
included the Patriarch of the Indias and the 
Notary of the King. And it was in the presence 
of this august assembly that Her Majesty had 
made the following declaration : " On the evening 
of the 28th of last month, Olozaga proposed my 
signing a decree for the dissolution of the Cortes, 
and I replied that I did not wish to sign it, having, 
among other reasons, the fact that this Cortes 
had declared me to be of age. Olozaga insisted ; 
I again objected, rising from my seat and pro- 
ceeding to the door at the left-hand side of 
the table. Olozaga intercepted my passage and 
locked the door. Upon this I turned to the other 
door, but he then stepped to that one, which he 
also locked. Then, catching me by the dress, he 
made me sit down, and seized me by the hand 
and forced me to sign the document. Before 
leaving me he told me to say nothing of the 
occurrence to anybody, but this I declined to 

" Then," continued Brabo, " at Her Majesty's 
request, we all signed the royal declaration, for 
its transmittance to the archives." 

It was with great dignity and cleverness that 
Olozaga followed the statement of Brabo by 
refuting the points, holding his own as to his 

Ministerial Difficulties in the Palace 

innocence, and yet not incriminating the Queen 
of untruth. When the unfortunate man had 
entered the Cortes with his brothers, cries of 
" Death to him !" came from a box filled with 
officers of the regiment of San Fernando, whilst 
shouts of " Viva !" came from other directions. 

" Happen what may/' said Olozaga, " I deserve 
the confidence of the Queen, which I won as a 
Minister ;" and it was in a voice trembling with 
emotion that he continued : " The life I have led 
justifies me the person of my heart, my daughter, 
my friends. My colleagues have all found me 
always an upright man, incapable of failing in 
my duties, and this opinion I cannot sacrifice 
to the Queen, nor to God, nor to the Universe. 
Being a man of integrity, I must show myself as 
such before the world, even if it were on the 
steps of the scaffold itself." 

It is difficult to get an impartial opinion upon 
this episode, so fraught with importance and so 
conclusive of the short-sighted policy of putting 
the kingdom into the hands of a young girl of 
thirteen, who was utterly inexperienced in the 
art of government, as the Regent had lived 
away from the palace, and fate had sundered 
her from mother, aunts, uncles, and relatives, 
who, in any other station of life, might have 
aided her with their counsels. In the excitement 
of the moment the Minister had doubtless treated 
the Queen as he would his own daughter, and, 
keenly anxious to gain the decree which would 
empower him to rid himself of the majority of 
Moderates in the House, Olozaga had not stopped 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

to consider how an exaggerated report might 
colour his action to the tone of that of a man 
guilty of gross lese-majeste. The Queen was but 
a child in his eyes, and when she demurred at the 
seeming cruelty and ingratitude of dissolving a 
Cabinet which had been so favourable to the 
anticipation of her majority, it is probably true 
that the Minister patted her familiarly on the 
wrist, and said, with a smile of satisfaction and 
superiority : " I will accustom My Lady to such 
cruelties !" 

The return of the Queen-mother was now 
solemnly demanded by a deputation of grandees, 
senators, and deputies. The necessity of the 
young Queen having a person of experience at 
her side was eloquently set forth ; and those who 
were envious of the power of Gonzalez Brabo 
eagerly advised a course which would curtail his 
influence and lead to the supremacy of the 
Moderates. So Maria Cristina returned to Spain 
on February 28, 1844, arriving at Barcelona on 
March 4, and at Madrid on March 21. 

However, Gonzalez Brabo managed to retain 
power under the new state of affairs, albeit at 
the price of being termed a traitor by his own 

In spite of being accused of acting as a panderer 
to the Moderates, Olozaga's advice to the Queen 
to legalize the marriage of her mother with Don 
Fernando Munoz was a step of good policy. The 
ceremony in the chapel of the royal palace was 
celebrated by the Patriarch of the Indias. 

The husband was endowed with the decorations 


Ministerial Difficulties in the Palace 

and dignities of his position, and the Queen 
published the following decree : 

" With due regard to the weighty reasons set 
forth by my august mother, Dona Maria Cristina 
de Bourbon, I have authorized her, after listening 
to the counsel of my Ministry, to contract a mar- 
riage with Don Fernando Mufioz, Duke of Rian- 
zares, and I declare that the fact of her contracting 
this marriage of conscience, albeit with a person 
of unequal rank, in no way lessens my favour and 
love ; and she is to retain all the honours and 
prerogatives and distinctions due to her as Queen- 
mother. But her husband is only to enjoy the 
honours, prerogatives, and distinctions, due to 
his class and title ; and the children of this 
marriage are to remain subject to Article 12, of 
Law 9, Title n, Book 10, of the Novisima 
Recopilacion, being able to inherit the free pro- 
perty of their parents according to the laws. 

" Signed by the Royal Hand 
and the Minister of Grace and Justice, 
" Luis MAYANG. 

" Given in the Palace, 

" October n, 1844." 

Wherever the young Queen appeared with her 
sister in the country, their simple, unsophisticated 
ways filled the people with love and admiration. 
One day, being only accompanied by two Ladies-in- 
Waiting, they went to a village fete not very far 
from San Sebastian. 

" Do you come from San Sebastian ?" asked the 
peasants, with the freedom characteristic of the 
country-folk in Spain. 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

" Yes, we do," replied the Queen. 

" And do you belong to the military ?" 

" No/' said the Queen, repressing a smile, 
" we are not military people." 

" But at least you are Castilians ?" 

" Yes/' returned the Queen promptly ; "we 
are girls from Madrid." 

" And do you like this part ?" queried the 

" Very much," replied the Queen. " It is very 

" Well," continued the peasant, with frank 
familiarity, " sit down a bit and see the lads 

" Thank you very much," replied the Queen, 
' but we must be going." 

" You will have noticed," rejoined the peasant, 
" that the roads are very bad, and you will get 
very tired. These mountains are only fit for 
strong feet, and not little delicate ones like 

" Never mind," returned Isabel ; " we like to 
accustom ourselves to everything. You don't 
know, then, who we are ?" 

" It is not easy to guess," was the answer ; 
" but you are certainly daughters of people of 
position and money." 

Then Isabel said : " I am the Queen." 

" The Queen ! the Queen !" cried the people 
with delight ; and cider, fruits, and cakes, were 
pressed upon the royal party. 

The Queen and her sister received constant signs 
of affection in the neighbourhood of Guipazcoa. 


Ministerial Difficulties in the Palace 

They went to Pampeluna to receive the Duke and 
Duchess of Nemours and the Duke of Aumale, 
the arrival of the distinguished French guests was 
celebrated in the city by a magnificent banquet 
and bull-fight, and the distinguished Frenchmen 
stayed with the Count of Ezpeleta. 

The fall of Miraflores, the able Prime Minister, 
was heralded by the evident desire of both the 
Queens for a change of Ministry, and those who 
wished to compass the fall of the Prime Minister 
were listened to by the royal ladies. 

Miraflores found Queen Isabella alone one day 
in the palace, and Her Majesty said to the 
Minister : 

" I have heard that the scandal this afternoon 
in the Congress has been so great that the Presi- 
dent of the Congress put on his hat in his want 
of consideration for the Court." 

Miraflores explained that this act proceeded from 
no want of respect for the Cortes. 

" Nevertheless it must be dissolved to-morrow/ 1 
was the reply. 

Narvaez became Minister of War as well as 
President of the Congress. The part played at the 
palace in the change of Ministries is seen in the 
scene between Pacheco and the Queen-mother. 

Maria Cristina remarked to the Minister that 
the Government would not last long. Upon this 
Pacheco placed two ounces of gold upon the 
mantelpiece, saying : 

''' I bet you that money that the Cabinet will not 
fall to-morrow as you say." 

Whereupon the Queen took another two ounces 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

from her purse, and placing them beside those of 
the diplomat, she said : 

" The bet is made : if the Ministry does not fall 
to-morrow, the money is yours ; if it does, it is 
mine/ And the Ministry did fall. 

This insidious influence of the camarilla was 
daily becoming more dangerous. Presumptuous 
and illegal, it held its sway over all that was pru- 
dent and constitutional, and thus the intrigues of 
the palace came between the Cortes and the 
throne, and the country and the Queen, exercising 
power to the detriment of the national representa- 
tion, the throne, the nation, and the Sovereign. 
" The royal palace/' says Don Antonio Bermejo, 
" was a gilded cage where men were slaves to envy 
and idleness." 

1 60 



!843 1848 

ISABELLA'S marriage was now a burning subject 
of discussion and intrigue. The objection offered 
to her marriage with one of the sons of the Infanta 
Luisa Carlo t a was the hatred reigning between the 
mother of the proposed bridegroom and Queen 
Maria Cristina. 

Louis Philippe of France had also his own designs 
in these marriage prospects, and would fain have 
united the Dauphin to the young Queen. But, as 
we know, England put her veto upon this alliance, 
as it would have upset the balance of European 
power ; so the French King had to be contented 
with the marriage of his younger son, the Duke of 
Montpensier, with Isabel's sister Luisa Fernanda. 

There was a strong party in favour of the Queen's 
marriage with the Count of Montemolin, son of Don 
Carlos, as this union would have put an end to the 
rivalry reigning between these two branches of the 
Royal Family. 

But finally attention was turned to the sons of 
Don Francisco de Paula as the most suitable can- 
didates for the hand of the Queen. Miraflores 

161 L 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

explains that it was natural for the Duke of Cadiz, 
the eldest son of the Infante, to be preferred by the 
existing Cabinet in Spain and the Queen-mother, 
as he was a quiet, judicious Prince, who had 
accepted and fulfilled with honour the post of 
Colonel of a cavalry regiment ; whilst Don Henry 
was of a turbulent disposition, whose conduct left 
much to be desired at the Court of the Queen- 
mother, to whom he had written from Bayonne 
very disrespectfully, and in Brussels he had dis- 
tinguished himself by publishing ideas which 
bordered on being revolutionary. 

Whilst the royal party was at Pampeluna a 
mysterious document in French fell into the hands 
of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, signed " Legiti- 
mista." The document ran thus : 

" To the Minister of Foreign Affairs. 

" Before the Due de Nemours and the Due 
d'Aumale left Paris as the emissaries of His 
Majesty the great ' Pere de famille/ French 
legitimists knew that the meeting at Pampeluna 
was merely a matter of form. The Due d' Aumale 
cannot be the husband of Dona Isabel ; his father 
knows it ; M. Guizot and M. Bresson know it ; 
and the Queen, wife of the Citizen-King, knows 
it, and she is the most strongly opposed to the 

" The Due de Montpensier will be the husband 
of the Infanta ; this is what is arranged, and what 
will take place. The Citizen Louis has made a 
plan by which he thinks that in time Montpensier 
will occupy the throne of Spain .by the side of 


After a Painting by De Madrazo 

To face page 

Royal Matrimonial Schemes 

the immediate heiress, Luisa Fernanda, because 
experienced doctors in medicine have declared to 
Bresson that the Queen is very ill with an heredi- 
tary disease which will take her to the grave. Why 
has not the Princess got it? That is a mystery 
which time will reveal. Who will give his hand 
in marriage to Queen Isabel ? We hear that the 
candidature of Prince Henry is in favour. But 
this illustrious youth cannot be the husband of the 
Queen, neither can his brother, Don Francisco de 

' The Minister whom I have the honour of 
addressing is ignorant of the reason, and I can 
give it to him. 

' The Minister must know that when Princess 
Luisa Carlota was on her death-bed she did not, 
even in this sad moment, forget the troubles of her 
sister ; and impelled by conscientious scruples, she 
sent for her illustrious sons, and, taking them each 
by the right hand, she said these solemn words to 
them, in a sad tone and with a tenderness which 
was truly Christian : ' My sons, I wish to reach 
heaven, I wish to quit you and the world without 
remorse, and therefore I declare I repent having 
contributed through imprudent affection to 
thwarting the legitimate succession of the Crown 
of Spain, and this I swear on my salvation. So I 
command you as a mother, as a Princess, and as a 
repentant sinner, to swear that neither of you will 
aspire to the hand of Isabella/ " 

Narvaez showed that this document was a fraud, 
as, at the death of the Infanta, Don Henry was at 

163 L 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

some distance from Madrid, and Francisco was at 

Isabella's own feelings about her marriage were 
hardly taken into consideration at all. As a 
matter of fact, she had been more inclined to 
Prince Henry, the younger son of Dona Luisa 
Carlota, than to Francisco, and it will be remem- 
bered that even as a child she had admired the 
portrait of the Prince, which had been secretly sent 
by the mother to the young Queen ; but inclination 
had no part in the negotiations, which were regu- 
lated entirely by self-interest and policy, so the 
tide of influence was soon seen to be in favour of 
the eldest son of Prince Francisco de Paula. 

Don Henry was furious when he found he was 
left out in the cold in the negotiation for the 
marriages of Isabella and her sister. 

In a letter to Bulwer Lytton he writes : 

" The old man at the Tuileries is very delighted 
and pleased. He has written three letters full of 
hypocritical words, telling the great Mama that 
she has drawn the first prize, and that she is very 
fortunate to be marrying her daughters to Paquito 
(Francisco) and Montpensier. A French fellow 
has arrived at the palace. You will recollect that 
I told you before last night that, judging from the 
appearance of things, you and I- were going to have 
our noses put out of joint. 

" Istarez is very pleased. Cristina is delighted, 
and from what I hear the weddings will take place 
very soon. When I see you I will give you more 
particulars, which I cannot trust to the pen." 


Royal Matrimonial Schemes 

The Queen-mother had been inclined to the idea 
of the Count of Trapani, her brother, who had been 
educated in a Jesuit college at Naples, as her son- 
in-law ; but, as this idea had not been welcome to 
the Government, attention had again been turned 
to one of the sons of the Infante Don Francisco de 
Paula. Don Francisco, Duke of Cadiz, the eldest, 
was favoured by France, whilst England gave 
preference to Don Henry, Duke of Seville. As 
Miraflores says, it was natural for the Queen- 
mother to prefer the eldest son of Don Francisco, 
as he was a quiet Prince and one who had fulfilled 
his duties with credit as Colonel of a cavalry 
regiment ; whilst Don Henry was of a more turbu- 
lent nature, and his antagonistic conduct to the 
Queen-mother had excited some disturbance in the 
palace. In the letters he sent from Brussels to 
Madrid he had manifested a revolutionary spirit, 
which filled the Moderates with alarm. However, 
poor Isabel preferred this hot-headed Prince to his 
more peaceful-minded brother, and long were the 
arguments the young Queen held with her mother 
against the project of her union with the elder 
brother. Fortunately, however, the young Queen 
seemed somewhat pleased with the appearance of 
Don Francisco, and at the fetes given in honour of 
the engagement she seemed very cheerful. 

In an interview with Queen Maria Cristina, 
Bulwer Lytton said : " I can understand your joy 
as a mother at seeing your eldest daughter destined 
for a Prince who will make for the happiness of the 
royal domestic hearth ; but as to the marriage of 

the Infanta " 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Here Cristina interrupted him, saying : " It 
is decided that her union with Montpensier will 
take place on the same day as that of the 

The Duke of Rianzares had evidently favoured 
the alliance of the Princess Luisa Fernanda with 
the Duke of Montpensier, for when the matter was 
fully arranged Louis Philippe wrote to Queen 
Maria Cristina : 

" Please give my kind regards to the Duke of 
Rianzares, and thank him for the part he has taken 
in the matter I have so much at heart." 

So France and her supporters in Spain gained the 
day, and the double wedding of the young sisters 
was fixed for October 10, 1846. It was with all 
the magnificent state for which the Court of Spain 
is famed that the reception by Isabel and Fernanda 
took place at the palace (for" the publication of 
the marriage contracts) in thfe Salon of the Am- 
bassadors. Alexandre Dumas was among the 
distinguished Frenchmen accompanying the bride- 
groom of the Infanta Fernanda, and the great 
author attended a bull-fight with the noblemen as 
toreadors, and the fetes all the week were of sur- 
passing splendour/ 

The religious ceremony itself was held in the 
Church of Atocha with all imaginable pomp and 
splendour. The Patriarch of the Indias received 
the brides at the door of the church, and noticeable 
among the French guests was Alexandre Dumas, 
author of " The Three Musketeers." All the 
Diplomatic Corps were there with the exception of 
the English. 


Royal Matrimonial Schemes 

In the ceremony the Patriarch placed upon the 
open palms of the Queen's bridegroom the thirteen 
pieces of money pledged as his dowry, which was 
then passed by the bridegroom to the hands of his 
bride, saying, " This ring and this money I give 
you as a sign of marriage/ 1 and the Queen replied, 
" I accept them." 

The same ceremony was used with the Infanta 
and her bridegroom, and then the prelate, with 
his mitre and crook, escorted the royal couples to 
the altar, and there read the Mass. During the 
Epistle the Patriarch presented the candles, veils, 
and conjugal yoke, and at the conclusion of the 
Gospel the Patriarch turned to the Queen and her 
bridegroom, and said to the latter : " I give Your 
Majesty a companion, and not a servant ; Your 
Majesty must love her as Christ loves His Church. " 
And then the same words were said to the other 
couple. The periodical which published this 
account of the wedding remarked that the Queen 
and her husband looked smiling and pleased, but 
the Infanta looked sad. 

The attempt on the life of the Queen soon after 
her marriage caused great excitement, and the 
trial of Angel de la Riva, a native of Santiago, in 
Galicia, and editor of a paper called El Clamor 
Publico, who was caught just after firing the shot, 
was followed with the deepest interest. 

The testimony of Don Manuel Matheu, officer 
of the Royal Guard of Halberdiers, a man of 
thirty-five years of age, gives some idea of the 
etiquette of the time. 

He declared that on May 4, 1847, he was on duty, 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

so when the Queen returned from her drive he 
went as usual to receive her at the foot of the 
staircase with his little company of six halberdiers, 
and a Captain with a lamp, and two other atten- 
dants with their axes. On descending from the 
carriage, Her Majesty said to him : " Do you know 
that on passing through the Calle de Alcala two 
shots were fired at me." 

The officer returned : ' Two shots at Your 
Majesty ?" 

" Yes/' was the reply ; " you cannot doubt it ; I 
saw them get down from a carriage or cab." 

The Colonel was not aware if Her Majesty said 
an open carriage or a shut one. 

" I felt something," she added, " pass over my 
forehead which hurt me." 

" And as this was evident," continued the 
officer, " I could but give credit to Her Majesty's 
words. Moreover, Her Highness the Infanta 
Dona Maria Josefa added : ' There is no doubt of 
the fact, for I myself saw the men/ ' 

Then Her Majesty told the witness he was to 
inform the Ministers of what had happened. This 
he did, leaving a message at the door of the Secre- 
tary of State, and sending a halberdier to inform 
the Minister of War. 

It is not necessary to give further particulars of 
the long trial of the accused. He was, as we know, 
first condemned to be beaten to death, and being 
saved from this dreadful fate by the able defence 
of Perez Hernandez, he was in November, 1847, 
condemned to twenty years' imprisonment. But 
on July 23, 1849, the Queen showed her generous 


Royal Matrimonial Schemes 

spirit by commuting the sentence to four years' 
exile from Madrid and all the royal resorts, as Her 
Majesty nobly gave full benefit to the representa- 
tion of the murderous lawyer's madness, or the 
influence exercised by others. 

In the rapid and unexpected flight of the French 
Royal Family from the Palace of the Tuileries, 
Princess Clementina, wife of the Duke of Saxony, 
and the Duchess of Montpensier, were separated 
from the King and Queen. When the Duke of 
Montpensier accompanied his father to the car- 
riages waiting for them in the Place de la Concorde, 
he thought he would have no difficulty in returning 
to fetch his wife, who had been confined for some 
days in her apartments on account of her interest- 
ing condition of health. But the crowds which 
had collected meanwhile in the gardens made it 
impossible for the Prince to return to the palace. 
He had fortunately left the Princess in the care of 
some of his suite and Monsieur Julio de Last eyrie, 
who was distinguished for his loyalty and popu- 
larity. So the Duke mounted his horse and fol- 
lowed his father. 

Directly Monsieur Lasteyrie saw that the palace 
was invaded, he gave his arm to the Duchess of 
Montpensier, and in the confusion of the moment 
they passed unnoticed from the gates and mingled 
with the crowd. Monsieur de Lasteyrie hoped to 
arrive in time to put the Princesses into the royal 
carriages, which, however, started off at a gallop 
just as they arrived within sight of them. 

So Lasteyrie escorted the royal ladies to the 
house of his mother. In a few minutes Princess 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Clementina left the timely refuge, and continued 
her way to the Trianon, where she met her father ; 
whilst the Duchess of Montpensier remained for 
the night under the protection of Madame de 

There she heard from her husband at Dreux 
that she was to join him at the Castle of Eu, 
whither the King was going. 

But the monarch found it impossible to get to 
this haven, so when the young Princess arrived 
there the following day she found the place 
deserted. Hearing an alarming rumour that a 
party of workmen were coming to pillage the 
Palace of Eu, as they had ransacked the one at 
Neuilly, the Duchess quietly left the place, and 
repaired to the house of Monsieur Estancelin, a 
diplomat of the Bavarian Embassy. Under the 
escort of this gentleman and that of General 
Thierry she started off for Brussels. On passing 
through Abbeville, the sight of the carriage at- 
tracted attention, and the people cried : " There 
are royal fugitives in that coach \" Monsieur 
Estancelin put his head out of the window, and, as 
his name was known in the district, he declared 
that the lady was his wife, and he was going abroad 
with her. To put the people off the scent, he then 
gave orders to the postilion to drive to the house 
of a friend of his, well known for his republican 
opinions. Arrived at the house, Estancelin whis- 
pered in the ear of his friend the name and rank 
of the lady under his escort. 

But the man, in fear of the consequences of the 
discovery of the secret, declined to give his aid 


Royal Matrimonial Schemes 

in the matter, in spite of all arguments of both 
gentlemen in charge of the Princess, setting forth 
the dreadful consequences of her being frightened 
or subjected to imprisonment in her delicate con- 

It was all in vain ; the republican declined to 
receive the Princess, and they had to turn away 
from the door in despair, for several people had 
gathered in front of the house, curious to see who 
could be seeking shelter at such a late hour. 

So Monsieur Estancelin bade General Thierry 
conduct the lady out of the town by a particular 
gate leading to the bank of the river, whilst he went 
in search of other friends, who might aid him to 
get fresh horses and a carriage with which he 
would meet them. 

So the poor Princess started forth with her 
military ally. Unfortunately, the gate of the 
town led through a narrow exit only meant for 
pedestrians. So they wandered along in the cold 
rain, picking their way over the stones and rubbish 
of this out-of-the-way road. The General, alarmed 
at the drenched condition of the Princess and her 
evident exhaustion and fatigue, decided that he 
had better let her sit on a stone to rest, whilst he 
went in search of a guide or a refuge. 

The officer hastened along the road, fearing to 
call the attention of the enemy to the lady in his 
care, and yet anxious to get a guide to the rendez- 
vous appointed by Estancelin. Finally, to his 
delight, he was accosted by a friend of Estancelin, 
who had sent him in search of the couple, and, 
quickly returning to the Princess, they escorted her 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

to the carriage which was waiting on the highroad 
to Brussels. 

" What dreadful adventures this awful night !" 
exclaimed General Thierry, as the Duchess of 
Montpensier sought to recover one of her shoes 
which had slipped off her weary wet feet in the 

' Never mind/' returned the brave Princess ; " I 
prefer these adventures to the monotony of the 
round table of work in the sumptuous salons of 
the Tuileries." 

The relief with which the letter announcing the 
safety of her sister was received by Queen Isabella 
can well be imagined, as in those days the limited 
communication by telegraph was stopped on 
account of the fog. 

The fall of Louis Philippe relieved England of 
the fear of the upset of the balance of European 
power from the astuteness with which he had 
arranged the marriages of the Spanish Queen 
and her sister. 

There was no doubt of the intentions which had 
led to the Duke of Montpensier being the brother- 
in-law of the Queen, and the unsuspicious girl was 
a prey to the reports which were spread by the 
ambitious Orleanists. 




IT was soon seen that General Serrano's influence 
with the Queen surpassed the ordinary grade, 
and the Moderates were alarmed. " 

There were two parties in the royal palace- 
one on the side of the Queen, and the other 
on that of the King ; and the leaders of these 
parties fostered the difference between the royal 

Francesco Pacheco, the King's partisan, declared 
that a President of the Congress was wanted who 
would give more independence to the Crown, and 
who would receive the counsels of an intelli- 
gent husband of the Sovereign ; for the King- 
Consort should not be in a position so secondary 
to that of the illustrious rnother-in-law that she 
can boast of having more power than he has. 

When Isabella saw that Queen Maria Cris- 
tina's influence in the State was much resented 
by the Ministers, she advised her to go on a visit 
to her daughter, the Duchess of Montpensier, and 
this counsel was followed. 

However, the want of union between the King 
and Queen was soon evident to the world, and 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

when it was announced that Isabella was going 
to spend the rest of the summer at Aranjuez 
alone, whilst the King remained in Madrid, it 
was seen that the Serrano influence had become 
serious enough to cause a separation between 
the royal couple. Isabella's naturally good heart 
seemed softened when she was leaving the palace, 
and it was evidently remorse which prompted 
her to look anxiously back from the carriage, in 
search of a glimpse of the husband at one of the 
windows of the royal pile. But the coach 
rattled on, and the Queen's search was in 
vain ; whilst her sad face, with its traces of tears, 
showed that things might have been better had 
not the differences of the royal couple been 
fostered, for their own ends, by intriguers of the 

Forsaken by his wife, Francisco followed the 
advice of his friends, to enjoy himself in his own 
way ; so he repaired to the Palace of the Pardo, 
where banquets, hunting - parties, and other 
festivities deadened his sense of injury at his 
wife's conduct. 

Those interested in the welfare of the land were 
disappointed when the birthday of the Queen 
was celebrated by her holding a reception alone at 
Aranjuez, whilst the King had a hunting expedi- 
tion at the Pardo. The Ministers came to the 
reception at Aranjuez, and then promptly returned 
to the capital, leaving the Queen with her trinity 
of Bulwer, Serrano, and Salamanca. General 
Salamanca was at last sent by the King to 
Aranjuez to advise Isabella to return, but she 


A Royal Quarrel and the Reconciliation 

would not accept the condition of a change in 
the Serrano position. 

This refusal made the King decline to assist at 
the reception of the Pope's Nuncio at Aranjuez, 
and he was forbidden to return to the royal Palace 
of Madrid. 

Benavides, a courtier, anxious to heal this un- 
happy division in the Royal Family, came to 
Francisco, and said :* 

" This separation cannot go on ; it is not good 
for the Queen or for Your Majesty. 7 ' 

"That I can understand/' returned the King; 
"but she has chosen to outrage my dignity as 
husband, and this when my demands are not 
exaggerated. I know that Isabelita does not 
love me, and I excuse her, because I know that our 
union was only for State reasons, and not from 
inclination ; and I am the more tolerant as I, too, 
was unable to give her any affection myself. I 
have not objected to the course of dissimulation, 
and I have always shown myself willing to keep 
up appearances to avoid this disgraceful break ; 
but Isabelita, either from being more ingenuous 
or more vehement than I am, could not fulfil this 
hypocritical duty this sacrifice for the good of 
the nation. I married because I had to marry, 
because the position of King is flattering. I took 
the part, with its advantages. I have no right 
to throw away the good fortune which I gained 
from the arrangement. So I made up my mind 
to be tolerant, if they were equally so with me, and 
I was never upset at the presence of a favourite." 
* " Estafeta del Palacio Real," Bermejo, vol. ii. 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Here the King was interrupted by Benavides 
saying : 

" Allow me, Sire, to observe one thing. That 
which you now say with regard to tolerance of 
a favourite is not in accordance with your present 
line of conduct, for do you not demand the with- 
drawal of General Serrano before agreeing to the 
reconciliation we are asking ?" 

Then, with a singular calmness, the King re- 
turned : 

" I do not deny that this Serrano is the main 
drawback to an agreement with Isabelita, for the 
dismissal of the favourite would be immediately 
followed by the reconciliation desired by my 
wife ; but I would have tolerated him, I would 
have exacted nothing, if he had not liurt me 
personally by insulting me with unworthy names, 
failing in respect to me, and not giving me proper 
consideration and therefore I hate him." He is 
a little Godoy, who has not known how to behave ; 
for he at least got over Charles IV. before rising 
to the favour of my grandmother/' 

The Minister of the Government listened with 
astonishment to the King's words. Don Fran- 
cisco saw it, and continued : 

" The welfare of fifteen million people demands 
this and other sacrifices. I was not born for 
Isabelita, nor Isabelita for me, but the country 
must think the contrary. I will be tolerant, but 
the influence of Serrano must cease, or I will not 
make it up." 

Benavides replied that the Ministry deplored 
this unhappy " influence," which was getting 


A Royal Quarrel and the Reconciliation 

burdensome to the Queen herself ; but Serrano 
had such a fatal ascendancy everywhere, and had 
won over to his side the opposing elements, that 
any sudden step to put an end to the evil would 
result in deplorable consequences for the nation. 
" However, the Ministry has decided to get rid 
of this pernicious influence/' continued Bena- 
vides. " It is seeking a way to do so without a 
collision and its consequences ; and one of the 
things which would help to this course of the 
Cabinet would be the immediate reconciliation 
of Your Majesties, as the preliminary to the other 
steps which will lead to Serrano's overthrow." 

The King refused. He said that his dignity 
demanded the withdrawal of the " influence." 
Fresh evident proofs had been given that this 
hateful man was the cause of the Queen's separa- 
tion from him, and therefore he was not inclined 
to go back from his word about him. 

So Pacheco and all the other Ministers, except- 
ing Salamanca, determined to resign if Serrano 
did not retire from the Court. 

Benavides and Pacheco were among the depu- 
tation who petitioned the favourite to agree to 
this step, but it was in vain. The Ministers went 
backwards and forwards to La Granja without 
gaining their purpose. Finally, in pursuance of 
the Pope's advice, the Queen decided to return 
to Madrid ; and Salamanca, as Prime Minister, 
went to the Escorial to report the fact to Bulwer. 

It must be noted that Salamanca's name was 
not in the list of Ministers suggested by Narvaez. 
The Queen wished it to be added, but Narvaez 

177 M 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

declined to follow suit, as he knew that this 
statesman was supported by Bulwer, whose dis- 
like of the King was well known ; and the way 
he had spoken of Francisco before his wedding 
naturally made the King averse to seeing him. 

Bulwer worked with Bermejo against Isabella 
during the premiership of Salaancam, and the 
publication in The Times of a demand for the 
royal divorce was due to him. 

At last Francisco and Isabella were reconciled. 
It was on October 13 that the King returned to 
the capital. He entered the gate of the palace 
in a carriage drawn by six horses, with a mounted 
escort of the Guardia Civil. He was dressed 
quietly in black, and Brunelli, the Pope's Legate, 
was seated on his left. Narvaez, Count Alcoy, 
Count Vistahermosa, rode by the coach, and two 
carriages followed with the high dignitaries of the 

The King looked pleased. General Serrano, 
whom he hated so cordially, had left Madrid, and 
the Queen was waiting for him at the window. 
Brunelli was about to follow the royal couple as 
they walked away after their first meeting, but 
Narvaez said : " Whither away, Your Eminence ? 
Let them be alone with their tears and kisses. 
These things are done better without witnesses/' 

The Queen arrived that day at her dwelling in 
the Calle de las Rejas. "There was a ^family 
dinner-party in the evening at the palace, and, 
in a private interview with her daughter, Maria 
Cristina begged her to be more discreet in future ; 
and she reminded her that although she had, as 


A Royal Quarrel and the Reconciliation 

a widow, allowed herself to be captivated by a 
commoner, whilst she was the wife of the King 
she had never allowed her thoughts to wander 
beyond the circle of her rank and her duty. 

The reckless extravagance of the Queen excited 
muchremark. Courtiers are still living who recollect 
seeing Isabella give her bracelets to the beggars 
who sometimes infest the courtyard of the palace. 

When Miraflores, who was considered the soul 
of truth, received a reckless order from the Queen 
to dispense a certain amount of money on some 
petitioner, he had the sum put in pieces on a table, 
and it was only the sight of the large sum which 
was thus laid before the Queen which showed her 
the extravagance of her command. 

A great influence was soon found to be at work 
in the palace in the person of Sister Patrocinio, 
whose brother, Quiroga, was one of the gentlemen- 

179 M 2 




THERE was much variety of feeling when it was 
known that an heir to the throne was expected. 
On the day of the birth, July 12, 1850, the clerics, 
Ministers, diplomats, officers, and other important 
personages of the realm, assembled at the palace 
to pay their respects to the expected infant. But 
the bells and cannon had hardly announced to 
the nation the birth of the girl-child when it 
expired. So the dead form of the infant, which 
had only drawn breath in this world for five 
minutes, was brought into the assembly of digni- 
taries, and after this sad display the gathering 
dispersed in silence. The kind-heartedness of the 
Queen was shown in her thoughtful generosity to 
the nurses who were disappointed of their charge. 

" Poor nurses, they must have felt it very 
much !" she exclaimed. " But tell them not to 
mind, for they shall be paid the same as if they 
had had my child." 

In February, 1852, an heir to the throne was 
once more expected, and the birth of the Infanta 


Attempt on the Life of Queen Isabella 

Isabella was celebrated by the usual solemn pre- 
sentation. When the King showed the infant 
to his Ministers, he said to the Generals Castanos 
and Castroterreno : 

" You have served four Kings, and now you 
have a Princess who may one day be your 

It was on February 2, 1852, that the dastardly 
attempt was made on the life of the Queen, just 
before leaving the palace for the Church of Atocha, 
where the royal infant was to be baptized. The 
Court procession was passing along the quad- 
rangular gallery, hung with the priceless tapestries 
only displayed on important occasions, when 
Manuel Martin Merino, a priest of a parish of 
Madrid, suddenly darted forward from the spec- 
tators lining the way, with the halberdier guard. 
The petition in the cleric's hand and his garb of 
a cleric led to his step forward being unmolested, 
and the Queen turned to him, prepared to take 
the paper. But the next moment the other hand 
of the assassin appeared from under his cloak 
with a dagger, which he swiftly aimed at the 
royal mother. Fortunately, the Queen's corset 
turned aside the murderous weapon, and, although 
blood spurted from her bodice, the wound was not 
very deep ; but she was at once put to bed and 
placed under the care of the royal physicians. 

The royal infant was promptly seized from the 
arms of its mother at the moment of the attack, 
by an officer of the Royal Guard, and for this 
presence of mind the soldier was afterwards given 
the title of the Marquis of Amparo. 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

With regard to the assailant, the Queen said to 
her Ministers : " You have often vexed me by 
turning a deaf ear to my pleas of mercy for 
criminals, but I wish this man to be punished 
immediately." And, with the outraged feeling of 
the object of such a dastardly deed, Isabella 
turned to the would-be murderer, and said: 
' What have I ever done to offend you, that you 
should have attacked me thus ?" 

During the trial in the succeeding days the 
Queen softened to the criminal, and said to her 
advisers : " No, no ! don't kill him for what he 
did to me !" 

However, justice delivered the man to the hang- 
man five days after his deed. 

The efforts to discover Merino's accomplices 
were fruitless, and it was thought that the deed 
had been prompted more by the demagogue party 
than by the Carlists. 

The cool, cynical manner of the cleric never 
left him even at the moment of his execution. 

When the priest's hair was cut for the last time, 
he said to the barber : " Don't cut much, or I shall 
catch cold." 

The doomed man's request to say a few words 
from the scaffold was refused. When asked what 
he had wished to say, he replied : " Nothing 
much. I pity you all for having to stay in this 
world of corruption and misery." 

The ovation which the Queen had when she 
finally went to the Church of'Atocha to present 
the infant surpasses description." 4 Flowers strewed 
the way, and tears of joy showed the sympathy of 

182 * 

Attempt on the Life of Queen Isabella 

the people with the Queen in her capacity as 
mother, and at her escape from the attempt on 
her life. 

From 1852 to 1854 Isabella failed to please her 
subjects, and the outburst of loyalty which had 
followed the attempt on her life gradually waned. 
Curiously indifferent to what was for her personal 
interest, as well as for the welfare of the country, 
Isabella turned a deaf ear to the advice of her 
Ministers to dissolve, a Cabinet which was under 
the leadership of the Count of San Luis, who was 
known to be the tool of Queen Maria Cristina, 
now so much hated by the Spaniards. Miraflores 
wrote a letter to Isabella, advising the return of 
Espartero, the Count of Valencia, but the letter 
never reached its destination. 

Remonstrances which had been made upon the 
Government were now directed straight to the 

" You see/* said her advisers, " how the persons 
whom you have overwhelmed with honours and 
favours speak against you !" 

The Generals O'Donnell and Dulce finally took 
an active part against the Ministry, supported by 
the Queen-mother and Rianzares. 

The Count of San Luis was a man of fine bearing 
and charming manners. He had been conspicuous 
in his early days for his banquets and gallantries, 
but he had also been known for many a generous 
deed to his friends ; and it was noticeable that 
when the tide of favour left him he was deserted 
by all those to whom he had been of service. 

The birth of another royal infant in 1854 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

excited little or no interest in the capital, where 
discontent with the reigning powers was so 
evident. General Dulce was accused in the 
presence of the Queen and San Luis of having 
conspired against the Throne. This the officer 
indignantly denied on the spot, declaring that 
never could he have believed in the perfidy 
which had prompted the report. 

At last the storm of revolution broke over 
Madrid, and the parties of the Generals O'Donnell 
and Dulce came into collision with those of the 
Government. Insulting cries against the Queen- 
mother filled the streets, and during the three 
days' uproar the house of Maria Cristina, in the 
Calle de las Rejas, was sacked, as well as those of 
her partisans. The furniture was burned in the 
street, and Maria Cristina took refuge in the 
royal palace. 

After the Pronunciamento of Vicalvaro and 
O'Donnell to the troops, it was evident that the 
soldiers of the Escorial would also revolt against 
the Government. 

It was then that Isabella was filled with the 
noble impulse to go alone to the barracks of the 
mutinous regiments and reason personally with 
them. With her face aglow with confidence in 
her soldiers and in herself, she said : " I am sure 
that the generals will come back with me then to 
Madrid, and the soldiers will return to their 
barracks shouting ' Vivas ' for their Queen." 

But this step, which would have appealed with 
irresistible force to the subjects, was opposed by 
the Ministers, who objected to a course which 


w -B 

23 C 

< '3 

C/3 Pi 


Attempt on the Life of Queen Isabella 

would have robbed them of their portfolios by 
the Sovereign coming to an understanding with 
those who were opposed to their opinions. 

At this time Isabella received from the Infanta 
Josef a, daughter of the Infanta Louisa Carlota 
and Francisco de Paula, a letter which showed 
that the Princess had inherited her mother's 
hatred of the Queen-mother, Maria Cristina ; for 
she wrote : 

' Your Majesty should distrust the artificial 
and partial counsels of the Queen-mother. This 
lady, to whom you owe your birth, is sacrificing 
you to her insatiable greed of gold. Beyond your 
life you do not owe anything to Maria Cristina. 
She has done nothing for Spain that you should 
give her submission and obedience in your conduct 
as Queen. Hardly had Your Majesty's father 
gone down to his grave than his widow gave you 
the pernicious example of an impure love, which 
began in a scandal, and ended, ten years later, 
in a morganatic marriage, to the incalculable 
harm of the country. 

" Maria Cristina is lax in the principles of 
morality, which ought to be the foundation of 
the education of Princes, and she knew not how 
to inculcate them in the mind of Your Majesty. 
Whilst you were a child, she did nothing but 
accumulate money and arrange for her future 

' The disinterestedness and the generous senti- 
ments which enrich Your Majesty's heart, and the 
high tendencies which have shone in your mind, 
and which have only been suffocated by the 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

pettiness of your entourage, are exclusively a 
gift from Heaven, and under favourable circum- 
stances they would have developed into great 
and glorious deeds. When the time arrived for 
the marriage of Your Majesty an event of such 
import to your destiny Your Majesty knows 
that the Queen-mother only used her influence to 
make you marry a man whose sole merit lay in his 
power of ministering to her omnivorous nature. 
Never did a mother behave in such a self-interested 
way in what concerned her daughter's domestic 
happiness ! And now she continues the soul of 
the Government, counselling Your Majesty for 
her own ends, and with utter disregard of the 
wishes of the people/ ' 

This letter, which gives an idea of the dis- 
sensions of the Royal Family, and the expression 
of feeling against Maria Cristina, was shared by 
the people. Indeed, the hatred of the Queen- 
mother was publicly shown after she took refuge 
in the royal palace. The Plaza de los Ministros 
resounded with the cries from the townsfolk of 
" Death to Cristina !" A storm of stones broke 
all the windows of the palace. The soldiers fired 
on the people. The palace gate of El Principe 
had to be guarded by two cannon commanding 
the Plaza de Oriente. Twelve guns were stationed 
in the great courtyard called the Plaza de las 
Armas, and all the cavalry at Madrid was sum- 
moned to the defence of the royal abode ; and 
during the siege there was serious anxiety that the 
provisions would not last long. 

Queen Isabella sought to encourage and sup- 


Attempt on the Life of Queen Isabella 

port her mother, but she saw that the stream 
of public hatred was now too strong to be 

The arrival of Espartero in Madrid, on July 29, 
raised the siege of the palace, and the people, 
delighted at the sight of their favourite leader, 
gave a loyal ovation to Queen Isabella when she 
appeared at a window of the palace. 

The days from July 17 to August 28 were fraught 
with anxiety for the Queen of Spain. The cries 
for the dismissal of the Queen-mother, and for 
her trial for the appropriation of State moneys, 
could no longer be silenced, and the day came 
when the royal lady found that her personal 
safety demanded her departure from the country. 
So, accompanied by a mounted escort, Maria 
Cristina submitted to the decision of Espartero, 
as the mouthpiece of the people, and she finally 
bade farewell to her weeping daughter at the 
palace door, and left the country, never more to 

Espartero made a crusade against the undue 
priestly influence at Court. The weak-minded 
King was quite under the power of " the bleeding 
nun," as Patrocinio was called, and his constant 
visits to her apartments in the palace were said 
to have been in search of spiritual counsel, with 
which she was supposed to be miraculously 
endowed by reason of the wounds in her forehead 
and hands, which refused to be healed, as they 
were said to be illustrative of those of the Saviour. 
The Queen and all the Royal Family became 
hysterically hypnotized by this phenomenon. 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

But Espartero soon put an end to the matter 
by having the lady put under the authoritative 
care of a doctor, who had her hands tied so as to 
prevent her irritating the wounds ; and thus in 
a short time the supposed miracle was over, and 
the power of the religieuse and her brother, the 
Archbishop Claret, was at an end. 

Espartero had O'Donnell as his Minister of 
War. Dissensions broke out again in the Cabinet, 
and O'Donnell reaped the success of his camarilla 
influence at the midnight Council meeting held 
before the Queen in July, 1856. For when 
Espartero found that his measures for the new 
Constitution were rejected, he offered his resigna- 
tion ; and then, to his surprise, the Queen, by a 
prearranged concert, turned to hife colleague with 
her sweetest smile, saying, " I aiii sure you won't 
abandon me, will you ?" and he was sworn in as 
Prime Minister the following day. 

But O'Donnell had a powerful rival for favour 
at the palace in the person of Narvaez, a General 
of some fame, whose alert ^ dapper little figure, 
said to have been improved by corsets, made him 
popular at Court as a dancer. 

This officer was extremely arrogant, and noting 
that the grandees, by right of their special pre- 
rogative, stood covered in the royal presence 
during the ceremony of the King washing the 
feet of the poor, and feeding them in the historical 
Hall of Columns, he promptly put his own cocked 
hat on his head, and bade his officers do the same. 

O'Donnell, who was of a heavier, clumsier build 
than his rival, suffered much at the sight of the 


Attempt on the Life of Queen Isabella 

success of Narvaez in the arts of society. One 
day at a state ball at the palace the two Generals 
stood in readiness to conduct the Queen through 
the mazes of the rigodon. As Prime Minister, 
O'Donnell considered that the distinction of taking 
Isabella's hand for the figures was his by right, 
but Isabella could not resist the temptation of 
having for a partner a man distinguished as a 
follower of Terpsichore, and she therefore singled 
out Narvaez as her partner. 

In a fury at what he considered a public slight, 
O'Donnell gave in his resignation the next day 
as President of the Council, and General Narvaez 
was chosen to fill the vacant place. 

It was well known at Court that the British 
Ambassador, Bulwer Lytton, was working against 
the Court of Spain in England, and consequently 
he was an object of great aversion to the military 
leader of the Government. 

Irritated at the Englishman's assumption of 
authority, Narvaez said one day to Bulwer 
Lytton that Spain did not interfere with the 
affairs of Queen Victoria like England did with 
those of Isabella II. To this remark the British 
diplomat returned that Victoria did not owe her 
throne to foreign intervention, as Isabella did. 

One day Narvaez was in his bureau in a great 
state of irritation about some action of the British 
Ambassador, when Bulwer Lytton was announced. 
He drew a chair close to Narvaez, and, although 
the Spaniard pushed his back, drew his seat 
still closer. ^Upon this Narvaez jumped up in 
his excitable manner, and then, wishing to seat 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

himself again, he missed the place and found 
himself lower than he wished. 

Upon this the Ambassador made some remark 
which added fuel to the fire of the General's 
wrath, and, advancing to the Englishman, he 
made him rise from his seat, took him by the 
neck, and kicked him so that he nearly fell to the 
ground. The Ambassador took his papers for 
England that day, and this incident doubtless 
added to the bitterness with which Bulwer re- 
ported on the affairs of Spain. 

The incident just related, of this last interview 
of Sir Bulwer Lytton with the Spanish Premier, 
was evidently never reported in all its bearings, 
but enough was known for it to be seen that the 
Ambassador was apt to embroil matters. For 
in " The Letters of Queen Victoria/' vol. ii., 
p. 207, Her Majesty writes : 

23, 1848. 

11 The sending away of Sir H. Bulwer* is a 
serious affair, which will add to our many embar- 
rassments. The Queen, however, is not surprised 
at it, from the tenor of the last accounts df Madrid, 
and from the fact that Sir H. Bulwer has, for the 
last three years, been sporting with political 
intrigues. He invariably boasted of being in the 
confidence of every conspiracy, though he was 
taking care not to be personally mixed up in them ; 

* " Lord Palmerston had written a letter to Bulwer (which 
the latter showed to the Spanish Premier) lecturing the Spanish 
Queen on her choice of a Minister. This assumption of 
superiority, as Sir Robert Peel calls it, led to a peremptory 
order to leave Spain in twenty-four hours. EDITOR." 


Attempt on the Life of Queen Isabella 

and, after their various failures, generally har- 
boured the chief actors in his house under the 
plea of humanity. At every crisis he gave us 
to understand that he had to choose between a 
revolution and a palace intrigue, and not long ago 
he wrote to Lord Palmerston that if the Monarchy 
with the Montpensier succession was inconvenient 
to us, he could get up a Republic." 

But Isabella's realm was still torn by insur- 
rections. In January, 1860, the Prefect of the 
Police reported that a rebellion was being pre- 
pared in Spain against the throne by the Carlist 
party, under Don Carlos Luis de Bourbon y de 
Braganza, Count of Montemolin. When justice 
was prepared to take its course against the insur- 
rectionists, Don Carlos wrote to Isabella, saying : 

" I am certain that your compassionate heart, 
which has always shown pity for the unfortunate, 
will not fail to have mercy on your cousins, and 
not deny the pardon that we crave." 

This mercy was also eloquently pleaded for 
by the unhappy mother of the delinquents. So, 
obedient to the impulse of her kind heart, Isabella 
said to the weeping parent : "Be at rest ; your 
son shall not die." 

However, the Carlist family soon forgot the 
clemency of the Queen, and the letter of Juan de 
Bourbon, son of Don Carlos," Ferdinand's brother, 
showed that the spirit of animosity burnt as power- 
fully as ever in the breast of the claimant to the 

' Twenty-seven years you have reigned/' ran 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

the Prince's letter to his royal cousin, " and you 
must confess that the hand of God has not helped 
you. I know the country ; I know equally well 
that your heart is good, and that you do good 
when you can, and you regret the evils which 
afflict Spain. But you try in vain. You cannot 
fight against Providence, which never wills that 
evil should prosper. Be assured, dear cousin, that 
God did not choose you to make the happiness 
of Spain, and that Divine Providence has denied 
you the lot of being a great Queen. Descend, 
Isabella descend from the throne ! Show your- 
self great in this matter, and take the place to 
which you have a claim in my family as my dear 
cousin, and as having occupied the throne for so 
many years, and do not expose yourself to final 
disaster and bring ruin on the family." 





ON November 28, 1857, " the birth of 
Alfonso XII.," as Martin Hume says, " added 
another thong to the whip which the King- 
Consort could hold over the Queen for his personal 
and political ends, and it also had the apparently 
incongruous effect of sending Captain Puig Molto 
into exile. 

Of course there were the usual rejoicings at the 
birth of a Prince, but things were far from satis- 
factory at the Court. The Queen had now a taste 
of personal power and a higher notion of her own 
political ability. The Congress was in slavish 
servitude to the palace, arid, acting in accordance 
with this sentiment, it had managed to get rid of 
the men in the Senate who had been working for 
the constitutional privileges of the country which 
would have led to the indispensable protection of 
the prerogative of a true suffrage ; and freed from 
these patriots, the press was silenced and Parlia- 
ment was suspended. 

The return of Maria Cristina, the Queen* s 
mother, was another step which added to the 
unpopularity of Isabella II. Once more wearied 

193 N 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

out with waiting for the realization of consti- 
tutional rights, the people's exasperation was 
voiced by the soldiers at the barracks of San 
Gil, within view of the royal palace of Madrid. 
O'Donnell at once took steps for the suppression 
of the insurrection. 

The cries of " Viva Prim !" " Viva la Libertad !" 
showed that the spirit of republicanism was 

Swiftly as O'Donnell went to the scene of action, 
Narvaez was before him, and so the Prime Minister 
had the mortification of seeing his rival carried 
into the palace to be tended for the slight wound he 
had received in the conflict. 

The rebellion was soon quelled, and the insur- 
gents were shot ; but disinterested advisers of the 
Queen might have shown her that such emeutes 
proved that the fire of discontent was smouldering, 
and with a strong Government for the consti- 
tutional rights for which the country was clamour- 
ing the revolution of i868^would have been avoided. 

On the day following the San Gil insurrection a 
man of influence at the Court went to plead pardon 
for two of the insurgents from Her Majesty herself. 

The interview was characteristic of the kind- 
heartedness of the Queen. 

After waiting for half an hour in the ante- 
chamber, the gentleman was shown into the royal 

" You have been quite lost/' said Isabel 
graciously, as her visitor bent over her hand. 
"It is a thousand years since you have been to 

see me." 


Court Intrigues 

Whilst excusing himself with courtly grace, 
Tarfe noticed that during the two years in which 
he had been absent from the palace the Queen 
had grown much stouter, and had thus lost some 
of her queenly dignity. She seemed 'distrait and 
troubled, and the red lids of her limpid blue eyes 
gave her an expression of weariness. They were, 
moreover, the eyes of a woman who had been 
brought in contact with the encyclopaedic array of 
the various forms of the despoilers~of innocence. 

The petitioner submitted his plea for mercy for 
his friends by saying that his request was 
backed by a letter from the holy Mother, begging 
her to write two letters to General Hoyos for their 
release. To the delight of the intercessor, the 
Sovereign at once wrote the letters. When this 
was done, the surprise of the courtier was in- 
creased when the Queen, <who was generally 
mananista, said in a quick, nervous tone : " Do 
not delay giving these letters ; do not wait till 
to-morrow ; do it to-day !" 

Before leaving the royal presence, Tarfe ven- 
tured to say that O' Bonn ell was much upset by the 
events of the preceding day, and the Queen replied 
in a tone curiously devoid of feeling : " Yes, I like 
O'Donnell very much." This she said three times 
in the same passionless voice, and then, seeing 
that he was dismissed, Tarfe took leave of Her 
Majesty ; and after fulfilling the mission to Hoyos, he 
went to see O'Donnell at his palace of Buenavista. 

The General declined to believe the reports of 
his friends, of the intrigues which were to compass 
his fall. 

195 N 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

The victor at Tetuan was more able to repel the 
open advance of an enemy than the underhand 
plots of a palace. 

But when Ortiz de Pinedo suddenly came in, 
and said, " Gonzalez Brabo has left San Juan de 
Luz to-day, and he is coming to form a Ministry 
with Narvaez," the General was somewhat taken 

On the following morning, after finishing a long 
despatch for the royal signature, he repaired to the 
palace, and, anxious to know the real state of 
affairs, he submitted to Her Majesty the list of 
appointments to the Senate-house, many of 
which had been suggested by Isabel herself. 

To the surprise of the Minister, the list was 
rejected by the Queen in a cold, disdainful way, so 
O'Donnell found himself forced to offer his resigna- 
tion. This was accepted with the usual meaning- 
less smiles and compliments. 

Then O'Donnell returned to his house, where 
his friends were waiting for him. His face be- 
trayed his rage and mortification, and, throwing 
his gloves on the table with an angry gesture, he 
exclaimed : 

" I have been dismissed just as you would 
dismiss one of your servants ." 

" My General/ 1 exclaimed one of the partisans 
of the ex-Minister, '" the camarilla delayed the 
change of Ministry for two days after the mutiny ; 
why was that ? And Ayala returned because it was 
better for Narvaez that we should have the odium 
of shooting the insurgents. Now he can take his 
place in Parliament with all the airs of clemency ." 


Court Intrigues 

O'Donnell, who could not deny the truth of this 
remark, took General Serrano by the arm into 
another room, but they could plainly hear their 
indignant followers saying : " Eso, sefiora, es 
imposible !" 

The Marquis of Mira-flores says that a General 
Pierrad, the head of the Pronunciamento, told 
a chief of the halberdiers that he had better tell 
the Queen that there were no means of putting 
down meetings, and this for two reasons : Prim and 
his friends only wanted a change in the power by 
a disciplined Pronunciamento, but the artillery, 
through some strange influence, would not recog- 
nize military chiefs. He who said this was to have 
been shot down by them ; he saw them drunk and 
faithless to their commands. This communica- 
tion was made to the Queen. In 1867 an im- 
portant interview took place in the Palace of 
Madrid between Isabel II. and her sister, the 
Duchess of Montpensier. 

It will be remembered that, after the adventures 
of the royal couple in the revolution of 1848, the 
Duke and Duchess retired to Seville, where they 
lived in the Palace of San Felmo with all the state 
dignity of sovereigns. The Queen had made the 
Duke an Infante of Spain, and he had also been 
appointed Captain-General. 

The Duke decided to take his wife to Madrid to 
counsel her sister to adopt a more liberal policy. 
The Duchess was expecting another child, but she 
was advised not to postpone her visit to the 
royal palace of Madrid. The interview was far 
from satisfactory, for Isabella had no intention of 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

allowing Montpensier to have an active part in the 
Government. So the Princess returned to Seville, 
and Isabella afterwards wrote her a letter, in 
which she expressed displeasure at her aims. This 
letter received an angry reply, first from the 
husband, and then from the wife. So a coldness 
grew up between the sisters, and, indeed, Isabella's 
want of confidence in Montpensier was proved by 
the subsequent events in 1868, when Prim himself 
rejected the Duke's offer to raise forces in his 

During all this time the little Prince of Asturias, 
who was nine years old when the insurrection 
broke out in the barracks of San Gil for Prim, was 
pursuing his education in the palace. The style 
of the Prince's education is given in the remark of 
the royal child's playmate to his father, when he 
had been to spend a day at the palace. 

" Papa," said the boy, " Alfonso does not know 
anything. He is taught nothing but religion and 
drilling. After the religious lesson, which was 
very dull," the child continued, " Alfonso was 
given a spear and a sword, and he waved them 
about so much that Juanito and I were afraid he 
would hurt us." 

A record was kept of the little Prince's doings 
during the day. His frequent colds, his coughs, 
his acts of devotion, his appetite at meals, his 
games, his toys, his little^jtempers, his deeds of 
obedience, were all entered in the register as signs 
of his temperament and as indications of his 
future character as a man. 

The Prince's apartments were dreary. The 


Court Intrigues 

windows were high up in the thick walls, the 
ceilings were low, and, as a grandee says when 
speaking of this fact, it seemed strange that the 
light and air so essential for a child should be 
insufficiently supplied to a future King. General 
Pavia, who was gentleman-in-waiting to Alfonso, 
only shrugged his shoulders at this remark, but 
Senor Morphy ventured to say : ' That is our 
opinion, but she who commands, commands." 

When the grandee was introduced to the little 
Prince, he returned the salutation with the 
manner of one accustomed to it, but with a pretty 
smile which was very attractive. 

" Yes," said his attendant, " His Royal High- 
ness is better to-day. He only has a little cough 
now, but the doctor says he is not to be tired 
with lessons to-day ; he is only to rest." 

" Last night," said the General, " His Highness 
asked for his lead soldiers to play with in bed. 
He did not want to say his prayers. So I had to 
fetch the new prayer-book which Her Majesty 
sent a few days ago, and I read the prayers whilst 
he repeated them after me. So in this way te 
said his prayers, but not willingly." 

Hereupon Alfonso protested, saying : " But this 
morning, Marquis, I said my prayers without 
your reading anything." 

" Yes, yes," returned the gentleman ; " but 
Your Highness did not want to get up, so I had 
to read stories to you until the doctor came." 

A few pages from the diary of the young Prince 
of Asturias gives some insight into the dreary 
daily life of the delicate child : 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

" October i, 1866. His Highness breakfasted 
at ii o'clock. At i o'clock he had drilling till 
1.40. At 2 o'clock a writing lesson with Sefior 
Castilla ; at 3 o'clock religion with Senor Fer- 
nandez ; 4.30, rice soup as usual ; 4.50 he went 
up to the rooms of Her Majesty to go for a drive 
with her. 

" October 4. His Highness played about till 
2.15. He had no lessons to-day, as being Her 
Majesty's saint's day. At 2.43 he went up to 
the Queen's apartments to assist at the reception. 
He wore the uniform of a sergeant, with the Cross 
of Pelayo. The ceremony over at 6.15, when His 
Highness came down with Senor Novaliches, as 
a boot hurt him (not the Marquis, but His High- 
ness). The said Marquis took off the boot, and 
carefully examined the foot, but he found nothing 
to account for the pain. Mention is made of this 
circumstance as the Chief of the Chamber of His 
Highness thinks it fitting to do so. . . . 

" October 6. My Lord Prince lunched at 12 
o'clock. I gave him his lessons. He went to 
the Church of Our Lady of Atocha. He went 
to bed at 10 o'clock, and slept ten hours. He 
took some chocolate, made his confession at 9.30, 
and Father Fernandez celebrated Mass. 

" October 9. He breakfasted with appetite. He 
had his lessons at the marked hours, and he was 
somewhat restless. At 4 o'clock he took some 
soup, and went out for a walk with the Mayor- 
domo, Senor Marquis de Novaliches, Professor 
Sanchez, and Juanito. He had supper at 8 o'clock, 
and played till 10 o'clock with Juanito, but left 


Court Intrigues 

off when he knocked his left leg against a table. 
He slept from 10 o'clock till 9 o'clock in the 
morning. He got up at 9.30 without feeling any 
pain in his leg from the blow. He did his orisons, 
assisted at the Mass in his room ; he went out for 
a walk with his Mayordomo, returned at n o'clock, 
and assisted at the Mass with Their Majesties and 
the Princesses ; and at 11.45 he had his hair 

As Perez Galdos says in his works, the long 
hours of religious instruction every day would 
have qualified the little Prince for the Council 
of Trent. When any Bishops came to visit Isa- 
bella, they were sent to the apartments of her 
little son ; and thus Morphy writes in the register : 
" I gave the lesson to His Highness in the presence 
of the Bishops of Avila, Guadix, Taragona, and 
of other dioceses whose names I do not remember." 
And Losa wrote : " He opened his eyes at 8.30 ; 
he dressed and gave thanks to God ; he took his 
chocolate with appetite, and at 10 o'clock had his 
religion lesson in the presence of the Cardinal 
of Burgos, who was pleased with his progress, 
and noted that His Highness was ' magnificent in 
everything.' " 

Courtiers who were true of heart saw with 
apprehension the artificial character of the Prince's 

" Ah !" said a man who would gladly have been 
frank with the Queen, but he felt he was powerless 
against her crowd of flatterers, " Alfonso is a very 
intelligent child. He has qualities of heart and 
mind which would give us a King worthy of the 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

people, were they only properly cultivated ; but 
we shall never see this ideal realized, because he 
is being brought up like an idiot. Instead of 
educating the boy, they are stultifying him ; 
instead of opening his eyes to science, life, and 
nature, they blind them so that his sensitive soul 
remains in darkness and ignorance." 

The same courtier implored the Prince's edu- 
cators to give the lad a chance. " Take him 
out of this atmosphere of priests and nuns, and 
devotional books by Father Claret. If you want 
Alfonso to be a great King, let him breathe the 
pure air of fine deeds. Take him away from the 
gloomy atmosphere of the royal palace ; let him 
inhale the fresh breezes of liberty. His talents 
will develop, and he will become a different boy." 

It was indeed true the little Prince was in an 
unnatural atmosphere in the palace, where the 
tunic of the nun Patrocinio had become an object 
of worship, and where the King, in his stuffy 
apartments, gave himself over to the study of 
relics which were brought to him at a high price 
by the priestly folk, who made harvest out of his 

The situation of Queen Isabella is graphically 
given by the historian Galdos in the reflections 
of a loyal courtier whilst having, with his wife, 
an audience of Isabella II. : 

" Oh, your poor Majesty !" he said to himself. 
" The etiquette invented by the set-up gentle- 
men of the Court to shut you off from the national 
sentiment prevents me telling you the truth, 
because it would hurt you to hear it. Even 


Court Intrigues 

those on the most intimate terms with you shut 
you out from the truth, and they come to you full 
of lies. So, kind-hearted Isabella, you receive the 
homage of my gilded untruths. All that I have 
said to you this afternoon is an offering of floral 
decorations, the only ones received on royal 
altars. . . . You, who are more inclined to the 
ordinary and the plebeian than other Kings you 
let the truth come to you in external decorative, 
and verbal matters, but in things of public con- 
sequence you like nothing but lies, because you 
are educated in it, and falsity is the religious 
cloak, or rather the transparent veil, which you 
like to throw over your political and non-political 
errors. Oh, poor neglected, ill-fated Queen . . . !" 

The reflections of the courtier were here inter- 
rupted by Isabella saying to his wife : " Maria 
Ignacia, I want to give you the ribbon of Maria 
Luisa. ... I shall never forgive myself for not 
having done it before. I have been very neglect- 
fuleh ?" 

The Marchioness was eloquent in her thanks, 
and Beramendi could only say : " Senora, the 
kindness of Your Majesty is unbounded. . . . 
How can we express our gratitude to Your 
Majesty ?" 

But the Marquis said to himself : " We take it, 
because even as you accept our lying homage, so 
we receive these signs of vanity. King and 
people we deceive each other ; we give you painted 
rags of flattery, which look like flowers, and you 
bestow honours on us which take the place of real 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Isabella continued : " I must give you a title of 
Count or Viscount, which your son can take when 
he comes of age." 

The Marquis's wife returned : " Our Queen is 
always so good ; that is why the Spaniards love 
her so." 

" Ah, no, no !" exclaimed Isabella in a melan- 
choly tone, " they do not love me as they did. . . . 
And many really hate me, and yet God knows I 
have not changed in my love for the Spaniards. . . . 
But things have got all wrong. ... I don't know 
how it is ... it is through the heated passions of 
one and the other. But, Beramendi, it is not my 

" No, indeed," returned the courtier ; " you have 
not caused this embroiled state of affairs. It is the 
work of the statesmen, who are moved by ambition 
and egoism." 

This indeed was true, for even as Serrano used 
the Queen's favour to his own ends, and had his 
debts twice paid by Her Majesty, he was the first 
to lead the country against her. 

" Do you think that matters will improve, and 
that passions will calm down ?" asked Isabella 

" Oh, senora, I hope that the Government will 
confirm your authority, and that those that are 
in rebellion will recognize their error." 

" That is what they all say," said Isabella, with 
a little satirical smile. " We shall see how things 
will turn out. I trust in God, and I don't believe 
He will forsake me." 

" Ah !" said Beramendi to himself, whilst his 


Court Intrigues 

royal mistress continued in the same strain of 
religious trust to his wife, " do not invoke the 
true God whilst you prostrate yourself before the 
false one. This god of thine is an idol made of 
superstition, and decked in the trappings of 
flattery ; he will not come to your aid, because he 
is not God. I pity you, blind, generous, misled 
Sovereign. . . . Those who loved you so much 
now merely pity you. . . . You have been silly 
enough to turn the love of the Spaniards to com- 
miseration, if not to hatred. I see your goodness, 
your affection, but these gifts are not sufficient to 
rule a nation. The Spanish people have got tired 
of looking for the fruit of your good heart." 

When Isabella gave the sign of dismissal of the 
courtier and his wife by rising to her feet, he 
said to himself sadly : 

"Good-bye, Queen Isabella; you have spoilt 
your life. Your reign began with the smiles of all 
the good fairies, but you have changed them into 
devils, which drag you to perdition. ... As your 
ears are never allowed to hear the truth, I cannot 
tell you that you will reign until O'Donnell will 
permit the Generals to second Prim's plans. Oh, 
poor Queen ! you would think me mad if I said 
such a thing to you ; you would think I was a 
rebel and a personal enemy, and you would run in 
terror to consult with your devilish nuns and the 
odious set which has raised a high wall between 
Isabella II. and the love of Spain. Good-bye, 
lady of the sad destiny ; may God save your 
descendants, as He cannot save you !" 

The good-heartedness of the Queen was, indeed, 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

seen by all about her, and there are people still 
at the Palace of Madrid who remember seeing 
Her Majesty take off her bracelets and give them 
to the beggars which infest the royal courtyard. 
All the best impulses of Isabella were turned to 
her own ruin for the want of true patriots, who 
by supporting the constitutional rights of the 
nation would have secured the sovereignty to 
the Queen. The self-interested conduct of the 
generals and statesmen, whose command in the 
camarilla of the palace meant rule over the heart 
of Her Majesty, tended naturally only to the over- 
throw of personal rivals, and to the neglect of the 
welfare of the land. 

Prim therefore became the hope of the nation. 
With his return to the capital, thought the people, 
crushed down by taxation and deprived of consti- 
tutional liberty, there will be an end to the 
camarilla, Narvaez, and Patrocinio, and we shall 
have the pure fresh air of disinterested policy. 

The death of O'Donnell at Biarritz relieved 
Narvaez of the fear of his rival's return, but the 
General had the mortification of seeing his royal 
mistress utterly in the hands of Marfori, who had 
been raised from the position of Intendente of the 
Palace to the position of supreme personal favour. 

When the Queen heard of O'Donnell's death, 
she is reported to have said : "He determined not 
to be Minister with me again, and now he can 
never be." 

, The Queen now committed the suicidal act of 
making Gonzalez Brabo Prime Minister in the 
place of Narvaez. The poor lady seemed quite to 


Court Intrigues 

have lost her head, and there was no one to put her 
on the right path, surrounded as she was with 

According to a letter from Pius IX., found in 
the Princess's prayer-book in the royal palace 
after the Queen had taken flight, the Pope coun- 
selled the marriage of the Infanta Isabella with 
a Neapolitan Prince. Even whilst the fetes of 
the marriage were going on, Gonzalez Brabo was 
concerting with the revolutionary Generals, and 
the name of " Prim and Liberty !" was heard on 
all sides, and messengers were sent to consult with 
the leader of the Republican party in London. 

The supporters of the Montpensier party hoped 
that the dethronement of Isabella would mean the 
acceptance of the Duchess of Montpensier as 
Queen, and her husband as Prince-Consort. But 
this idea was soon nipped by Monsieur de Persigny, 
the President of the Privy Council of the Emperor 
of the French, saying to Olozaga, who was then 
Spanish Ambassador at Paris, that he would never 
consent to the crown of Spain being on the head 
of either the Duke or the Duchess of Montpensier. 

After the historic day of September 29, 1868, 
when Prim made his successful coup at Cadiz, the 
Royal Family fled to San Sebastian. 

The haste with which the flight was made could 
be seen in the collections of jewels and money 
which had been thrust into bags which were after 
aU left behind. 

In the Hotel d'Angleterre of the seaside resort 
Isabella still seemed to expect a miracle to take 
place in her favour. A throne does not fall every 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

day, and a crowd hovered about the hotel to see 
how the Queen would accept her overthrow. 

A murmur of satisfaction broke out among the 
bystanders when the loyal-hearted Marquis de 
Beramendi was seen entering the hotel. " That is 
a good thing/' they said, " for Isabella will listen 
to his advice, which is certain to be wise." 

The courtier's remarks to the Lady-in- Wai ting 
were short and to the point. 

" I have come to tell you," he said, " that, if the 
Queen keeps to the good idea of abdicating, certain 
infatuated people ought to be kept from opposing 
it. I have had direct news from Serrano, and he 
says that, if Dona Isabella will abdicate in favour 
of Don Alfonso, he will save the dynasty, and she 
herself will be saved. The Duke of Torres will 
not put obstacles in the way of this course." 

" Better than that," returned the Lady-in- 
Waiting, in a voice which a cold rendered almost 
inaudible, " I thought that Her Majesty had the 
same idea, ' that she had better go to Logrono, and 
abdicate in favour of the Prince of Asturias in the 
presence of Esparterq/ ' 

" That's admirable !" said Beramendi. 

" And then, after abdicating, the Queen will 
depart immediately for France, leaving the new 
King in the power of the Regent Espartero." 

" Admirable ! splendid !" cried Beramendi ; " but 
there is not a minute to lose." 

" The departure will be arranged, this evening." 

" But, my God, I fear delays will be fatal ; I am 
afraid that some bad friend, some plotting courtier 
of the camarilla, will spoil this saving step 


Court Intrigues 

" Well, I must go upstairs now," returned the 
lady. " The Sefiora, Don Francisco, and Roncali, 
are busy with manifestoes for the nation." 

" And Spain will say, ' Manifestoes to me !' 
Now is the time to show the country fine deeds, 
and not empty rhetoric." 

On the following morning, when Beramendi 
went to the hotel, he came upon Marfori; and 
although he had had little to do with this nephew 
of Narvaez since royal favouritism had raised him 
to such undue importance, he said, in a tone of 
assumed respect : " So Her Majesty is going direct 
to France ? Something was said about her 
travelling to Logrofio ?" 

Upon this Marfori frowned angrily, saying : 
' You don't understand, my dear Marquis, that 
it would be very humiliating for the Queen of 
Spain to ask protection from a General, although 
he bear the name of Espartero. All concert with 
Progressists is dangerous. The Queen is leaving 
Spain under the conviction that she will soon be 
recalled by her people." 

" I knew it was useless to say more. Don Carlos 
Marfori was busy giving orders to the servants. I 
regarded him with resentment, because he was the 
personification of the evil influence which brought 
the Queen to her ruin. 

" His Arab type of handsomeness, with his large 
mouth and heavy jaw, was eloquent of sensuality, 
and his obesity robbed him of the attraction which 
he had possessed in earlier days. He was im- 
petuous, overbearing, and wanting in the courtesy 
common to a superior education." 

209 o 

The Secret History! of the Court of Spain 

The Marquis was then taken into the presence 
of the Queen, and as he bent over her hand she 
whispered : ' ' You know we have given up the 
idea of going to Logrono. No more humiliations I 
I am going away so as not to aggravate matters, 
and to prevent bloodshed ; but I shall be recalled, 
shall I not ?" 

" I had to console Her Majesty with one of the 
usual Court lies, and the Royal Family soon took 
its departure, the Queen leaning on the arm of 
Don Francisco, the little Infantas with their 
Ladies-in- Waiting, and the Prince of Asturias, in 
a blue velvet suit, led by Sefiora de Tacon. The 
poor little fellow looked pale and sad ; his great 
eyes seemed to express the royal and domestic 
sadness of the scene, and nothing was now wanting 
but the order for departure." 

Marfori was always much disliked by people at 
Court. It was in the summer of 1867. Many 
courtiers and ladies of high rank were promenading 
in the beautiful gardens of La Granja. The soft, 
well-kept turf of the shady alleys by the countless 
sparkling fountains set off the beauty of the 
dresses, when, with his usual courtly grace, 
General Narvaez advanced to meet the Countess 
of Campo Alange. 

This illustrious lady, whose salons in Madrid 
were graced by the highest in the land, was 
soon to give a ball. 

" I have received your invitation," said the 
General, after he had greeted the Countess. 

" It is almost the first that I have sent," re- 
turned the lady. 


Court Intrigues 

" I have just met Marfori," said the Duke of 
Valencia, " and he tells me he has not received 

" Neither will he," replied the lady sharply. 

" And why, being a Minister ?" queried the 
General in surprise, knowing how the slight to 
the Queen's favourite would be resented at Court. 

" Simply because Cabinet Councils are not held 
at my house," returned the lady caustically, 
firm in her decision to show her dislike of the 

General Narvaez, whose dapper figure and 
perfect dancing made him always a welcome 
guest at the Spanish Court, was still unmarried 
when he had to withdraw to Paris as an exile. 
He had always been fond of feminine society, 
but, gay butterfly as he was, he did not fix his 
affections upon any one lady. 

The beautiful Leocadia Zamora had been once 
the object of the officer's attention, and, indeed, 
the charming way she accompanied herself on 
the harp fascinated other admirers beside the 
Count of Valencia. She was a constant visitor 
in the salons of the Countess of Montijo, where 
the lovely Eugenie shone with the brilliance and 
charm which were so soon to be transported to 
the Court of France. 

But fate did not reserve the joy of a happy 
marriage for the lovely Leocadia, and the sweet 
spirit, disillusioned by an unhappy love, retired 
to a convent in Oviedo, where she passed the 
rest of her life performing the duties of a Lady 

211 o 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

It was said that it was the gallant Don Salvador 
de Castro who had taken Leocadia's heart captive, 
when she was young ; and, indeed, it is not sur- 
prising if this report be true, for he was a typical 
courtier of his time, and when he was home from 
his duties as Ambassador in Italy he seemed to 
dwarf all the attractions of the lady's other 
admirers. Leocadia was, in truth, a star of the 
Court of Spain, and the beautiful picture by 
Frederick Madrazo shows the perfection of her 
charms, with no other ornament than a white 
rose to adorn her simple white dress. Salvador 
de Castro was honoured by the friendship of 
King Francis II. and Queen Maria Sophia when 
the Italian Revolution robbed them of the throne 
of the Two Sicilies, and he was able to render 
them marked services and prove himself as loyal 
a friend as he was perfect a gentleman. After 
the capitulation of Gaeta, the King and Queen 
rewarded his loyalty by granting him the title of 
Prince of Santa Lucia, with the gift of the beauti- 
ful palace on the banks of the Tiber which is 
known by the name of the Farnesina, whilst the 
gardens were sold to the Emperor Napoleon. The 
place was deserted, and so near to its ruin that 
sheep and goats fed in its grounds, and the cus- 
todian took his meals in the beautiful hall of the 
frescoes of Sodon. 

It was in this palace that Michael Angelo 
painted a head on the wall, which is known by 
the name of " The Visiting Card/' as he left it as 
a sign of his call on Raphael when the artist was 


Court Intrigues 

The Prince of Santa Lucia had the palatial 
dwelling restored, and he gave magnificent enter- 
tainments in this palace, of which it was not 
destined that the lovely Leocadia should be 
mistress. Indeed, the lady abandoned all thoughts 
of love and pomp^when she entered a convent in 
Oviedo, where she ended her days as Lady Abbess ; 
whilst the daughter of her old admirer wedded 
the Marquis of Be~y, and made a mark in Court 
society of Madrid." 

But to returrl to the gallant little General. 
His affections were at last taken captive by another 
friend of the young Empress of the French, the 
beautiful daughter of the Count of Tacher. The 
Empress Josephine had belonged to this family, 
and her parents, the Duke and Duchess de Tacher 
<tie la Pogerie, were much beloved by Queen Marie 
Amelie, wife of King Louis Philippe. 

It was General de Cordova, who had played 
such an important part during the Regency of 
Queen Maria Cristina, who first took him to the 
house of the Tachers. When Narvaez paid a 
second visit to the palace on the Boulevard 
Courcelles, he found that nobody was at home ; 
and he was waiting in the drawing-room for the 
return of the lady of the house, when the daughter 
came in, looking beautiful in a white dress, but 
with her face tied up. 

" Are you ill ?" asked the General, with concern. 

" Yes," she returned ; " I have a swelled face/' 

" How sorry I am !" said the soldier sym- 
pathetically, "for I came this afternoon in the 
hope of hearing you sing/' 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

" And so you shall/' returned the girl kindly. 
" You shall not go away disappointed." And, 
taking the bandage from her face, she sang song 
after song to the fascinated General. 

The progress of the courtship was swift, and 
the marriage was celebrated with great magnifi- 
cence in the palatial abode of Queen Maria Cristina 
in Paris, with the attendance of representatives 
of the most distinguished families of France and 

When General Narvaez returned to Madrid he 
became Prime Minister of Spain. 

Unfortunately, the marriage did not prove a 
happy one, and, indeed, it would have been diffi- 
cult for anyone to live peacefully with the irascible 
Spaniard. This irascibility was seen at the 
funeral of General Manso de Zuniga, who had 
died in the expedition against Prim, in the moun- 
tains of Toledo. General Narvaez was chief 
mourner on the occasion, as the deceased officer 
had been husband of Dona Valentina Bouligni, 
a lady of great importance at this epoch, with 
whom he was connected ; and the Bishop of 
Pharsalia was master of the ceremonies. 

At a certain point in the function the order 
was given to kneel. But, probably absorbed in 
some knotty State question, the Duke of Valencia 
still stood. Upon this the Bishop quickly ap- 
proached the grandee, and said : 

" Kneel down, kneel down !" 

" But I don't want to kneel/' returned the 
General petulantly, and so he remained standing 
for the rest of the service. 



To face page 

Court Intrigues 

When she came to Madrid as the wife of the 
great General, the Duchess of Valencia was ap- 
pointed Lady-in- Waiting to Queen Isabella, and 
she never failed in her loyalty to the dynasty 
which was in power when she came to the country 
of her adoption by marriage. 

Many years later she was in an hotel in Switzer- 
land, where she purposed making a long stay, 
when Don Carlos happened to come to the same 
hotel, accompanied by his secretary. As the 
Duchess of Valencia was unacquainted with the 
Pretender to the throne of Spain, she wondered 
who the imperious-looking new arrival could be, 
who was greeted so respectfully by everybody. 
Her curiosity was soon satisfied, for the gentle- 
man's secretary presented himself before her to 
say that the Duke of Madrid begged the honour 
to pay his respects to her. 

The message filled the Duchess with dismay, for, 
although she held the Princes of the blood in great 
respect, she had no intention of receiving one who 
disputed the throne with the reigning Queen. 

So, summoning all her dignity to her aid, she 
said, in a tone of icy politeness : 

" Tell the Duke of Madrid that I am very sorry 
not to have the honour of receiving his visit, but 
to-morrow I leave for Paris/ ' 

And in effect the lady left the hotel on the 
morrow, and thus the meeting of one of the oldest 
and most valued Ladies-in- Wai ting with Don 
Carlos was avoided. 

Isabella certainly never expected that she would 
be dethroned, for a few weeks before the revolution 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

of September, 1868, the celebrated General Tacon, 
Duke of the Union of Cuba, announced the forth- 
coming marriage of his daughter Carolina with the 
Marquis Villadarias, of the premiere noblesse, and a 
perfect type of a Spanish grandee, and she said : 
" I congratulate her sincerely on her engagement ; 
but/' she added sadly, " for myself I am sorry, as 
I shall see her no more at Court/' The Queen 
here referred to the well-known 13arlist opinions 
of the Marquis Villadarias, which would have made 
it impossible to receive the Marchioness at the 
palace if she had remained there. 

So Isabella II. was dethroned in 1868, and she 
can truly be said to have been the victim of cir- 
cumstances. From the moment King Ferdinand 
died his daughter had been the object of intrigue 
and ambition. Whilst our Queen Victoria was 
carefully educated and drilled in high principles, 
Isabella was the prey of those who wished to rise 
to power by her favour. Ministers made love to 
the Sovereign instead of discussing" the welfare of 
the nation ; flowery speeches on patriotism meant 
merely the gratification of the orator's vanity to 
be remarked by Her Majesty. Personal advance- 
ment was the end and aim of those in the Govern- 
ment, and thus poor Isabella's susceptibilities were 
worked upon to an awful extent. 

It is well known that General Serrano, who 
might have been thought to have the welfare of 
his country at heart, gained an undue influence 
over the Queen by means of her affections, and 
fomented to a great extent the matrimonial 
differences between her and her husband. Generous 


Court Intrigues 

to a degree, Isabella paid the debts of this courtier 
twice, and yet it was this same General who was 
the first to have her hurled from the royal palace. 

When the great Canning visited Madrid, Bulwer 
Lytton showed him at a Court ball the many 
women who were the favourites of the Ministers, and 
there was, indeed, hardly a statesman who would 
not sacrifice principles to the pleas of his mistress. 
It was at this Court, steeped in immorality, that 
Isabella was brought up with little or no know- 
ledge of right and wrong, and even in her marriage 
she was a victim to the intrigues and ambitions of 
other Courts of Europe as well as those of her own. 
She was, in fact, a scapegoat of the nation. 

Harassed and in desperation at being pressed 
on to a miserable marriage destitute of all that 
could justify it, Isabella, after one of those long 
and fruitless discussions with her mother, once 
addressed a letter to our Queen Victoria ; but in a 
pure Court like that of England little idea could 
be formed of the stagnant atmosphere of the 
Spanish palace from which the poor young Queen 
sent forth her plaint. Beyond the Court raged 
the stormy discontent of the country, which had 
been thwarted for more than thirty years of the 
fulfilment of its constitutional rights promised by 
Ferdinand VII. as the condition of his return to 
the throne of Spain. 

Whilst Queen Victoria was daily increasing in 
the knowledge of constitutional rights which are 
the base of a Sovereign's power, poor Isabella's 
Prime Ministers resigned at any moment in pique 
or jealousy of some other politician, and the 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

people grew daily more discontented at finding the 
Parliament was a farce, and it meant neither the 
progress of the land nor the protection of the people. 

Bulwer Lytton was constantly sending de- 
spatches to England about the shortcomings of 
Isabella II. as a woman, but he seemed to lay no 
stress on the cause of her failure as a Queen. Under 
proper conditions Isabella doubtless would have 
been a good woman and a great Queen, but choked 
with the weeds of intrigue she was lost. Un- 
disciplined and uneducated, the poor Queen fell a 
victim to what, if properly directed, would have 
been virtues instead of vices. 

The marriage to which Isabella was forced by 
intrigue was, of course, the greatest evil which 
could have befallen such an impulsive, warm- 
hearted girl, who knew no more how to turn a deaf 
ear to a claimant for her favour than to keep her 
purse shut to the plea of an unfortunate beggar. 

The Right Hon. Henry Lytton Bulwer wrote a 
little later from the British Embassy at Madrid 
to the Court of St. James's, saying that he " looked 
at the Queen's conduct as the moral result of the 
alliance she had been more or less compelled to 
contract, and he regarded her rather with interest 
and pity than blame or reproach." 

Isabel's natural intuition of our Queen Victoria's 
good heart prompted her letters to her. They 
were sent by a private hand, and who knows what 
evils might have been prevented in the Court of 
Spain if the long journey, so formidable in those 
days, had not placed the sister-Queens so far apart ? 

Espartero's plea for Isabel to marry Don 


Court Intrigues 

Enrique de Assisi, the man of her heart, met no 
support in a Court torn with intrigue, and the sad, 
bad story of Isabel doubtless had its source in the 
tragedy of an unhappy marriage. At the plea of 
a persistent wooer, who knew that the Queen had 
the right of dissolving a Ministry, a Government 
would fall ; and as the station of her favourites 
became lower and lower, as time went on the ill- 
regulated Sovereign had a Government as unde- 
pendable as her friends. 

Treachery was the keynote of the Court of 
Spain, and some of the leaders of the revolution 
were those who had used the Sovereign's ignorance 
and foolhardiness to their own ends. In such an 
atmosphere of untruth and treachery such men as 
Espartero, Prim, etc., could play no enduring part. 
Hardly had Espartero swept the Court clean of the 
Regency of Queen Maria Cristina than his fall was 
encompassed by O'Donnell, his rival. The flagrant 
falsification of the Parliamentary election returns 
which is still the cankerworm of the country 
was the check to all progress. Count San Luis 
made a primitive effort for the reform of the 
elections ; he suggested that the names of the 
candidates as deputies should be put in a bag, and 
drawn out by a child blindfolded, for the law of 
chance seemed to him ^better than the custom of 

Isabella's acts of generosity are still quoted with 
admiration at the royal palace of Madrid by those 
who served her as Queen. 

Four hundred girls owed their marriage dots to 
Isabella, and it was the fathers of these four hun- 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

dred royally endowed brides who treacherously 
worked for her expulsion. 

One day, hearing the story of the penury of 
a clever man of letters, Isabella commanded 
20,000 francs to be sent to him. The adminis- 
trator of her finances, thinking the Queen could 
hardly know how much money this sum repre- 
sented, had twenty notes of 1,000 francs each 
changed into small money, and put out on a table 
by which she had to pass. 

" What is all this money for ?" asked Isabella, 
when she saw it spread out to view. 

" It is the money for the man of letters, and this 
shows Your Majesty how large is the sum of 
20,000 francs/' 

" So much the better," was the prompt reply ; 
and the courtier saw it was not by proving the 
amount of the boon that he could check his 
Sovereign in her generous actions. 

A Court official at Madrid, who has been sixty 
years in office at the palace, told me he often saw 
Isabella take off her bracelets, and give them to the 
beggars who pressed upon her as she crossed the 
courtyard of the royal domain. 

" And who could help loving her ?" said the old 
courtier, with tears in his eyes ; " T know I could 

Caught in the darkness of ignorance and 
intrigue, Isabella was naturally enraged at the 
revolution. When her son Alfonso was nearly 
made captive by the Carlists at tucar, she said : 
" I would rather my Alfonso be ^ prisoner of the 
Carlists than a captive of the revolutionists." 


Court Intrigues 

Isabella had a faithful friend in the Marquis of 
Grizalba, and he said to Croze :* 

" It is the loss of faith which causes our woes ; 
the charm of death has been destroyed with the 
hope of a hereafter. But Spain will die like a 

From September 19, 1868, to 1870 there is no 
history of the Court of Spain, as there. was no 
King, and it was not known if there ever would be 
one again. Isabella lived, as we know, in Paris, 
and her son pursued his education in Vienna, in 
the Theresan College, and later at Sandhurst. 
The young ex-Prince was devoted to society and 
to gaiety, and, seeing how his mother was feted in 
Paris, he was often heard to say : 

" I should rather like to be a dethroned King 
and live in Paris with plenty of money." 

In Spain, meanwhile, Serrano, Duke de la 
Torre, was enjoying his long-sought- for ambition 
of being supreme in the country, whilst General 
Prim was President of the "Council of Ministers. 
The Duchess of la Torre made an ineffectual 
attempt to gather a Court around her at La 
Granja ; but a palace made after the essentially 
royal abode of Versailles, with its countless well- 
kept alleys and its many panoramas of fountains 
adorned with allegorical scenes and figures, did 
not lend itself to anything but the stately en- 
tourage of a royal Court. 

Whilst the Republican party grew in power in 
the Parliament, the Generals who had made the 
revolution sighed after a monarchy. 

* The author of " La Vie intime d'Alfonse XIII." 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

The Duke of Montpensier, the brother-in-law of 
the ex-Queen, might have had a good chance as 
candidate to the throne, and he was supported by 
Topete and the three Liberal Generals ; but Spain 
could not forget his treachery and ingratitude to 
Isabella by joining with her enemies against her, 
and he found he could gain no real support from 
the country. And this coldness became more 
marked after the tragedy in which he was the 
chief actor made a dreadful stain on Court history. 

It will be remembered that Prince Henry of 
Bourbon, the brother of the ex-King, whom 
Isabella had personally preferred to the husband 
she was finally obliged to accept, and who married, 
in 1849, Helena, daughter of the Count of Castellvi, 
had been removed from his position of a General 
of the army, to which he had been appointed by his 
cousin, and expatriated for a writing which was 
very insulting to the Queen. 

Having thus associated himself with republic- 
anism, Prince Henry became the source of many 
disloyal publications against the Queen and her 
Ministers, and when the blow was struck for the 
dethronement of Isabella, he openly welcomed the 

The final opinions which caused the tragic ending 
to his life were expressed in an article entitled 
" The Montpensiers," and this so enraged the candi- 
date to the throne that he called out the author 
of the pamphlet in a duel, and a wave of horror 
swept over the Court of Spain when the ex- King's 
brother thus met his death at the hand of the 
Duke of Montpensier. 


Court Intrigues 

The funeral of the Prince was solemnized with 
all the insignia of his rank as Lieutenant-Colonel 
and the owner of the Collar of Charles III., and 
with the rites due to a Freemason of high office. 
He was buried in the Escorial, and it is said that 
his remains will be finally removed from the simple 
niche where they now lie to the imposing tomb of 
" the Infants." 

Another tragedy befell the family of the ex- 
Queen of Spain in December, 1871. On May 13, 
1868, the Infanta Isabella, the eldest daughter of 
Queen Isabella II., married Count Frederick Gir- 
genti, who created a most favourable impression in 
the country by the valiant way he fought in the 
Battle of Alcolea under the Marquis of Novaliches. 

But the brave young Prince was subject to 
epileptic fits, and one day in December, 1871, to 
the horror of his wife, he shot himself in Lucerne. 
The poor man lived for some hours, tended by his 
sorrowing wife. But neither love nor science 
could avail in such a case, and the Infanta Isabella 
found herself a widow at the age of twenty. How- 
ever, the Infanta never allowed sorrow to kill her 
sympathy for her compatriots, and to go to Spain 
is to find that no philanthropic scheme or project 
is considered complete without the patronage of 
the Infanta Isabella. 




IN February, 1869, Serrano was chosen head of 
the Executive Government, and in June of the 
same year Serrano, Duke de la Torre, was ap- 
pointed Regent until a King should be elected. 

To General Prim, whose ideal had always been 
that of Liberty, it was not surprising that, in 
seeking a Sovereign who, it was hoped, would 
steer the country through the shoals of self- 
interest, and stagnation, set up by an autocrat 
monarchy, his eyes should turn to Prince Amadeus 
of Savoy, whose father had led such a splendid 
struggle for the freedom of the country from the 
despotism of clericalism. A deputation, formed 
by deputies who subsequently became Ministers 
of Alfonso XII., presided over by Ruiz Zorilla, 
who was later a pronounced republican, were 
thus sent to Italy to submit the offer of the throne 
of Spain to the Prince of Savoy. Their mission 
to the Prince over, they proceeded to the bed- 
room of his young wife, who had recently been 
confined, and there conveyed to her in due form 
the invitation to become Queen of Spain^ 

The claim of the Italian Prince to the throne! 
rested on the royal decree of Philip V. of Spainj 



To face page 224 

The Court of^Spain under Italian Sway 

which formed the integral part of the Treaty of 
Utrecht, November 5, 1712. This decree set forth 
the claim to the throne of Spain through failure 
of legitimate line by the Duke of Savoy, and 
through failure of the male line by Prince Amadeus 
of Carignano and his sons, as descendants of the 
Infanta Catharine, daughter of Philip II. When 
the question of the claims to the throne of Spain 
was put to the vote, it was found that Amadeus 
registered 199, Esparterd" 8, Alfonso 2, and for a 
Republic 63. 

Castelar used all his eloquence against the 
Italian candidate. " Who" are these wretched 
Dukes of Savoy ," he said, " that run like hungry 
dogs in the wake of the coacfi of our Kings ?" 

Courage was a great characteristic of young 
Prince Amadeus. When only twenty-one, in 
1866, he saved a wounded soldier's life by carrying 
him out of danger on his own mule, in one of 
the skirmishes during the struggle for Italy's 

The young man's calmness in the hour of danger 
was shown in 1867, when the boiler burst on the 
ship on which he was returning to Italy, after 
attending the function of the opening of the 
Suez Canal. The Count of Castiglione was killed, 
and the panic on board threatened more disaster. 
But Amadeus was cool and collected. He calmed 
the people and insisted on the sailors' return to 
their several duties, and the ship was successfully 
brought back. 

Fortunately, the young Prince was allowed to 
marry the lady of his choice, who proved a devoted 

225 P 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

friend and companion in all the vicissitudes of 
their lives. 

When Signer Francisco Cassini, the President 
of the Chamber of Deputies, told King Victor 
Emmanuel whom his son wished to marry, the 
royal father said : "Do the young people love 
each other ?" 

" They idolize each other," returned the states- 

" Then very well ; they shall be married/' 
was the reply. " It is not for me to stand in 
opposition to the sentiment of my son." 

So the royal couple were married, and thus 
fate led to Princess Maria del Pozzo becoming 
Queen of Spain. 

Naturally, Amadeus was not attracted by all 
he heard of the country over which he was called 
to reign. However, when his father said, " Of 
course, it is very hot in Spain at this time, and 
by going there you would also run the risk of a 
disagreeable adventure, and perhaps even get a 
bit of lead in your ribs," the natural courage of 
the Prince was stimulated, and he declared he would 
accept the invitation to the throne, come what may. 

As the new King of Spain's wife had not re- 
covered sufficiently from her recent confinement 
to travel, her husband went alone to Spain. Before 
starting for his new country, Amadeus said to his 
friends : 

"I go to fulfil an impossible mission. Spain, 
now divided into various parties, will unite against 
a foreign King, and I shall soon be obliged to 
return the crown they offered me." 



To face page 226 

The Court of Spain under Italian Sway 

However, the Italian Prince knew he had a 
valiant supporter in General Prim, who used all 
his oratory and influence to get the sympathy of 
his countrymen on the side of the new-comer. 
But, as we know, it was not the fate of the pioneer 
of Liberty to see the realization of the scheme 
which he had hoped would be for the welfare of 
the country, and on December 30, 1870, the day 
on which Amadeus landed on Spanish soil, Prim 
was foully murdered by Spaniards. 

Long inquiry and investigation never revealed 
convincingly the hand that shot the General in 
the street. It was supposed by some to have been 
a partisan of an unsuccessful candidate to the 
throne ; others think it was a gipsy, who did it 
as a deed of outlawry. Be that as it may, 
strong suspicion fell upon Senor Paul y Angulo, 
who expressed his indignation strongly in the 
prologue to his paper on " Revolutionary 
Truths ": 

" The sacrifices that I have made for my country 
have been no light matters, and all I have in return 
is to find myself obliged to leave my poor country, 
to be the victim of vile calumniators, and to have 
to fly from persecution as if I were some horrible 

Prim's death was accompanied with much 
suffering, for some of his fingers were so seriously 
injured by the shot, it was thought that their 
amputation would save his life. But the opera- 
tion was in vain, and the General died in two 
days, just as Amadeus landed at Carthagena. 

When the sad news reached the new King, that 

227 p 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

his ardent supporter had fallen a martyr to his 
cause, he said : 

" Gentlemen, my duty is clear : I must go on 
to Madrid." 

Arrived at the Spanish capital on January 2, 
1871, where a fall of snow added gloom to the 
occasion, Amadeus at once repaired to the Church 
of Atocha, to pay his respects to the remains of 
the man to whom he mainly owed the throne of 

As the young King gazed at the corpse of the 
great leader, who had inspired trust and confi- 
dence in all with whom he came in contact, he 
prayed for strength to be able to fulfil the hopes 
which the Spaniard had directed ''to himself. 
With Prim, the pioneer of Liberty in Spain, young 
Amadeus, who had fought for the -same cause in 
his own country, had always felt in" sympathy. 

Those who had suffered for their religious 
opinions had looked to the great soldier as the 
herald of a new era. Juan Cabrera, the leader of 
the Protestant movement, who had fled to Gibral- 
tar for fear of imprisonment, and there led a life 
of exile and hardship, hastened to meet Prim after 
the coup which put Spain practically in his hands. 

" May I return to my country ?" asked Cabrera, 
when he saw him at Gibraltar. 

" Yes, yes, my man/' replied the General, 
whilst fixing his keen eyes on the Protestant's 
face, worn with study and anxiety, ' you can 
go back to Spain now with your Bible under 
your arm." 

And this the preacher of the reformed faith 


The Court jpf JSpgig un^gr^giljan Sway 

found to be true, for Spain had no longer to fear 
the active persecution of those who resisted the 
introduction of the Bible into their land. 

As Amadeus gazed at the features of the General, 
set in death, he sighed deeply in sorrow at his 
loss, and when he arrived at the royal palace, the 
magnificent setting of so many scenes of struggle 
for supremacy in the country, he sat down wearily, 
and said : 

" I feel sure that my loyalty will not be able 
to save Spain from the fury of contending 

When the new King took up his abode in the 
fine domain, with Prim dead, he felt as if he 
were starting for a voyage on a ship of which the 
rudder was lost, for he knew not whom to trust 
or to whom to turn for counsel. 

But Amadeus was not a man to let himself be 
enervated by fears and doubts for the future, 
although the first few weeks of his residence in 
the palace were additionally anxious from the 
fact of his wife being ill at Alassio. For the new 
young Queen of Spain had not been able to 
accompany her husband to Spain, as she was 
not sufficiently recovered from her confinement ; 
and when, in her desire to join Amadeus in the new 
sphere of influence, the journey was made too 
soon for her health, she was for some time ill at 

At last the new Queen was able to undertake 
the ten days' journey by sea to Alicante, where 
she was received with great delight by the young 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

The bright spring day which saw the arrival at 
Alicante of Queen Maria Victoria seemed to augur 
well for the success of the young couple. A thrill 
of pride passed through the young wife when she 
saw her husband come out to meet her in a white- 
and-gold launch, his face bright with hope, and 
looking every inch a King. As the Bright barque 
cut through the sunlit waters, with Amadeus 
accompanied by his Ministers, who had come to 
welcome her in state, she stepped to tlie prow with 
pretty words of greeting on her lips, and when she 
was finally taken off from the Italian ship to set 
foot on Spanish soil, a storm of cheers burst from 
the throats of the Italian sailors, to "be echoed by 
those from the Spanish crews and sight-seers 
anxious to welcome the new Sovereign. The 
bright and intelligent young wife" did indeed 
seem to bring sunshine to Spain, and s in the opening 
of the Senate there was a sincerity in the royal 
speech which found an echo in the hearts of those 
who really wished for the welfare oi the country. 

" When my feet touched Spanish soil/' said 
Amadeus, in a voice which penetrated to every 
part of the house, " I determined to merge my 
ideas, my sentiments, and my interests, in those 
of the nation who elected me as its head, and 
whose independent character would never submit 
to foreign and illegitimate intrigues. My sons will 
have the good fortune to receive their first im- 
pressions of life here ; their first language will be 
Spanish ; their education will be in accordance 
with the customs of the nation ; they will learn to 
think and feel as you think and feel ; and we shall 


The Court of Spain under Italian Sway 

unite with imperishable bonds our own fate with 
your fate." 

But no patriotic sentiments could entirely ex- 
tinguish the sparks of smouldering resentment that 
a foreigner should fye set over Spain. 

The pride of the Castilians was wounded, and 
no salve of sympathy could prevent the canker 
caused by such a hurt. Everything the Italian 
King and Queen did was purposely misinterpreted. 
He was dubbed " King Macaroni," and this 
mocking appellation expressed the resentment of 
the Court and country. 

The very democratic simplicity of the young 
couple was an offence to a land which revels in 
old-world ceremony and stately Court etiquette, 
and the clerical party never let the people forget 
that it was Victor Emmanuel, the father of their 
new King, who had ousted the Pope from his 
position of political supremacy. 

Of course Isabella was very indignant when she 
heard who had been elected as ruler at the Court 
of Spain, and she expressed her feelings in a 
torrent of speech. 

" The revolution continues," she said, whilst her 
eyes blazed with indignation, " and it has just dis- 
avowed the rights of my son, who is to-day your 
legitimate King according to all the Spanish con- 
stitutions, by calling to the throne of St. Ferdinand 
a foreigner, whose merits, however great, cannot 
entitle him to be your Sovereign, in the face of the 
rights of a whole dynasty, which is the only one 
that has in its favour the legitimacy which has 
been consecrated by the lapse of ages and by con- 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

stitutions which it has been a signal folly to 

Of course the Bourbon party echoed these senti- 
ments of its ex-Queen, and Amadeus felt the want 
of unity which has ever been the main defect of 
the country. 

People who came into contact with Amadeus 
at the Court of Spain admired the sense of his 
opinions, although the form of their utterance was 
not in accordance with that adopted by former 
rulers at the palace ; for the King had many habits 
of a nervous man. One of these was to take hold 
of a chair when he was talking, and twist first one 
of his long legs, and then the other, inland out of 
the woodwork as he turned it about before him. 

As simplicity was a very marked trait in the 
young royal couple's tastes, they rejected the 
idea of establishing themselves in the magnificent 
apartments used by the ex-Sovereigns, and chose a 
simple suite of somewhat small rooms commanding 
a beautiful view of the Casa de Campo,~and there 
the King passed the happiest hours of the day with 
his wife and children. The young Queen's fine 
intelligence rendered her an able confidante for 
her consort's State difficulties, and she was 
generally present at the discussions with the 

Sunday generally saw an intellectual gathering 
round the royal dinner-table, but the admiration 
of the select few who began to appreciate .the gifts 
and aims of the young couple did not, unfortu- 
nately, represent the feeling of the country, and it 
required all the charity and philosophy of King 


The Court of Spain under Italian Sway 

Amadeus and Queen Maria Victoria to ignore the 
half- concealed sneers of those at Court who 
mocked at the foreigners and their simple, superior 

Indeed, the Alfonsists never lost an opportunity 
of testifying their allegiance to the Bourbon 
dynasty, and, as they studiously avoided the 
royal palace from whence it had been expelled, 
the Court society of Madrid presented a strange 
medley of people who were so little conversant 
with the customs of such centres that Amadeus 
began to doubt if Madrid had any really good 

A certain Senor B., who was subsequently a 
Minister during the Regency, was invited to a 
function at the palace. So he went to a first-rate 
shirt-maker and ordered a shirt for the occasion. 
The shirt came with the fine embroidered cambric 
frill set out over blue tissue-paper. So, thinking 
the blue paper was meant to be worn with the 
shirt, Senor B. strutted into the royal presence 
quite proud of his attire paper and all. 

So naturally Don Amadeus was constantly 
saying : " But there is no society in Madrid." 
This remark was repeated in one of the salons of 
the aristocracy on the eve of the funeral of Blanca 
Osma, the Marchioness of Povar, mother of the 
present Duke of Arion, who had been renowned 
for her beauty and elegance, and, stung at this 
slight to their circles, somebody said : "-Well, to- 
morrow Amadeus shall see whether there be any 
good society in Madrid, for we will all parade 
in front of the windows of the palace "after the 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

funeral." And so they did, and thus the demon- 
stration of sympathy for the family of Osma and 
Malpica became one of political importance. 

February 10, 1872, was celebrated at the palace 
of the Dukes of Bailen by a magnificent ball. 
The minuet was danced by ladies in most beautiful 
Pompadour dresses, trimmed with handsome lace, 
and their hair powdered in the style of the last 
regime, and the gentlemen showed their high 
degree in dress and dignity." This minuet was 
repeated in the Palace of the Plaza del Angel by 
request of the mother of the Empress Eugenie, 
and society kept alive the feeling for the ex- 
regime by the same sort of fefes until the day 
dawned for the restoration, which doubtless these 
gatherings aided, for the little rooms adjoining the 
salons were the scene of manyj^eouncils in the 
cause of the Bourbons. ' 

One day this feeling of antagonism was ex- 
pressed in a more patent and painful form. 

It was a hot evening, which the King and Queen 
had spent listening to the music in the gardens of 
the Buen Retiro. The royal couple was returning 
to the palace by the Arenal, when suddenly a 
vehicle opposed the passage of the carriage by 
crossing just in front of s it. The coachman 
checked the horses and cleverly prevented a 
collision, and just then a shot was directed 
towards the royal party. 

Upon this the King sprang boldly to his feet, 
exclaiming : 

" Here is the King ! Fire at him, not at the 
others !" 


The Court of Spain under Italian Sway 

But no further attempts were made at assassina- 
tion, and the retinue reached the palace in safety, 
where the young Queen sougnt to still her tremors 
of anxiety by the sight of her brave young husband 
standing sound and well before her. 

To the King the late hours of the Court were 
particularly disagreeable. At work from six 
o'clock in the morning, he ran^ at eight o'clock for 
breakfast ; astonishment was on the lackey's face 
when answering the summons ; he heard that it 
had never been customary for their ex-Majesties 
to be served before eleven o'clock. So Amadeus, 
wishing to avoid any friction by insisting on 
earlier hours, adopted the habit of going to a cafe 
for his early meal after long application to State 
matters had made him conscious of the necessity 
of breaking his fast. 

Thus the maids, who sally forth in Madrid with 
baskets on their arms to be filled with necessaries 
for the household, would often return and regale 
the ears of their mistresses with how they had 
brushed against His Majesty as they did their busi- 
ness in the market-place. In one of these peregri- 
nations Amadeus noticed that Castelar, the leader 
of the Republican party, raised his hat to him. 
Surprised at this sign of respect from the enemy, 
the young man stopped, and said he wondered 
that anybody of Castelar' s opinions should salute 
royalty, to which the great orator replied, with all 
the grace and charm of an accomplished Castilian : 

" My salute was not to royalty, sire, but to the 
bravest man in Christendom." 

And it was this bravery which aroused the 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

admiration of Spain. However, no quality could 
overcome the country's rooted prejudice against 
" the foreigner/' and when Amadeus had taken 
his seat on the throne in the magnificent crimson- 
and-gold setting of the state salon of the palace, it 
was not to take real possession of his subjects' 
hearts. There was no antagonism against the 
Italian King, but utter indifference for him, which 
was much more difficult to deal with. He was 
unknown to the Spaniards, a mere guest, and the 
necessity of forming a Court for his wife was 
attended with the difficulty of the ladies of high 
degree being Alfonsists or Carlists, and thus many 
of them considered themselves superior to the lady 
on the throne. 

The ladies of the last regime openly showed the 
Italian royal couple that their loyalty was still 
directed to the Spanish ex-Sovereigns, by con- 
stantly presenting themselves in the Buen Retiro, 
and other resorts where they drove or walked, in 
the white lace mantillas and other characteristics of 
costume especially Spanish. 

As a counterfoil to these signs of disrespect to 
those in power, the ladies who were followers of 
King Amadeus and his wife arranged a cortege 
formed of women of the town, who were all 
dressed like the Spanish donas of high degree, and 
they were accompanied by a noisy, bullying sort 
of fellow who obviously represented the King's 
Chamberlain, the Duke of Sexto. 

Thus the feeling of the Court of Spain at this 
epoch was manifested in a series of spiteful acts 
unworthy of people of high position. 



e Court of Spain under Italian Sway 

The Court ladies showed little sympathy with 
the philanthropic aims of Queen Maria Victoria. 
The existing Home for the Children of Laundresses 
is still a standing proof that the sight of the 
thousands of women on their knees by the side of 
the River Manzanares, washing linen, had evoked 
a feeling of pity in the heart of the young royal 

The King found it impossible to take any action 
for good in his adopted country. The want of 
sympathy, and suspicion, which met every sug- 
gestion of the young King, allied with the confusion 
reigning in every department of the Government, 
made progress unattainable, and the King, having 
nothing to do with his time in a serious way, was 
soon found to be an easy prey to the seductions of 
designing Spanish women, and it was not known 
till some time afterwards that the Government 
had to interfere in ridding the Court of an 
adventuress who managed to get into the Court 

As Queen Maria Victoria wrote to a valued 
friend in Italy, she seemed wanting in the essential 
to make her a good Queen of Spain, and that was 
the desire to remain in the country. 

Sensitive as the young Sovereign was, she was 
ever conscious of the half-concealed looks of scorn 
of those about her, who wondered that she pre- 
ferred the simple customs of a happy domestic life 
to the pomp and etiquette of an old Court regime. 
The Countess della Alinma and the Marquis of 
Ulugares sympathized with Their Majesties' tastes, 
but these two friends could not stop the whispers 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

of discontent and disapprobation reaching them 
from the large circles of the great palace. 

Much of the rigidity of Court etiquette was 
abandoned during the short reign of Amadeus 
and Maria Victoria. The custom of courtiers pros- 
trating themselves on their knees before Their 
Majesties was abandoned, and, thanks to the 
good sense of Alfonso XII., it was never more 

Queen Maria Victoria created an Order which 
was called by her name, but it lapsed after her 
departure from the palace. 

We read in " Cosas del Ano 1873 " (Things of 
the Year 1873), by Carlos Frontaura, that many 
open insults had been levelled at the Italian 
Sovereigns during the last few weeks^of their reign. 
At the Court reception which is always customary 
on New Year's Day in Spain, x the Conservative 
deputies were conspicuous by their absence, and 
Generals Serrano, Concha, Infante, Rivero, Al- 
lende, Zabala and Hoyos, Topete, Malcampo, 
Martinez Espinosa, and the ex-Ministers Rios, 
Rosas, etc., all excused themselves from attending 
the banquet which took place in the evening. 

The Countess of Heredia-Spinola gave a mag- 
nificent ball in her house in Calle Fernando el 
Santo, and all the guests wore the fleur-de-lis 
as a sign of their devotion to the Bourbon 

Society at the Court of Spain was very different 
in the year 1872 from what it had been during the 
late dynasty. 

As Napoleon I. said, " You may confer titles 


The Court of Spain under Italian Sway 

and dignities, but you cannot give that particular 
cachet which goes with real Court society. " 

The Countess of Campo Alange always said, 
" Did So-and-so learn the minuet when he was 
young ?" For if the answer to this question were 
in the negative, it showed that the courtier only 
belonged to the new dynasty. 

The Marquis of San Rafael was then Prime 
Minister, but when the Marchioness wished to 
enter the Queen's presence she was not allowed to 
pass, whereas an arrogant lady of the old aris- 
tocracy quickly forced her way in. The Prime 
Minister was advised to report this slight to 
Amadeus himself. When the King heard of the 
matter, he only shrugged his shoulders, and said, 
" Let them fight it out." 

The King and Queen felt that their days in 
Spain were numbered, and it only wanted some 
incident to put the match to the train of discontent. 

The ostensible cause of the break of the King 
with the Government was the appointment to the 
command of the artillery of Hidalgo, who five 
years before had been in command of the company 
which had made the insurrection in the barracks 
of San Gil in 1866. The King himself did not 
favour this appointment, but when Ruiz Zorilla 
showed him a vote of confidence in the course 
carried by the Congress, Amadeus thought it time 
to resign the crown which meant nothing but 
mortification to himself and his wife. So on that 
evening (February n, 1873) the republic was 
proclaimed, and six o'clock the following morning 
saw the sad exit from Spanish Court life of the 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Italians who had been so fruitlessly summoned to 
its circle. 

Queen Maria Victoria had also been wounded in 
her susceptibilities as a mother. When her second 
child was born to her about a fortnight before the 
proclamation of the republic, the young Sov- 
ereigns naturally expected that the Ministry, 
Diplomatic Corps, military dignitaries, and clerical 
leaders, would be ready to greet the baby Prince 
according to the Court etiquette of the country. 
But the representatives of the country did not feel 
sufficient interest in the birth of " the little 
foreigner" to hasten to pay him their respects; 
and although the red and yellow flags waved 
triumphantly above the royal palace, it was several 
hours before there gathered ' in the audience 
chamber an assembly sufficiently large and august 
to receive the presentation of the son of Amadeus 
and Maria Victoria. 

It was hardly a fortnight later when the die was 
cast, and the Italians decided to abandon the 
throne of Spain. 

The personal attendants of the Queen wept as 
they saw her carried to the entrance of the palace 
still weak and ill from he-r recent confinement. 
The dethroned young King took the frail form of 
his wife in his arms when she was taken from the 
litter at the foot of the grarid staircase, and, after 
placing her in the carriage waiting in the archway, 
proudly saluted the Guard and stepped in by 
her side. 

In a departure arranged so hurriedly, all the 
necessary comforts were forgotten, and the royal 


'he Court of Spain under Italian Sway 

invalid was faint for want of nourishment, which 
was only attainable after hours of travelling. 
Amadeus was grateful indeed for the soup he 
was at last able to procure at a little railway- 
station on the line, and he boldly met the remarks 
and curious looks of the people who crowded to 
see the royal fugitive as he bore the cup from the 
restaurant to his wife. ; 

Once in Portugal, Amadeus, had nothing more to 
fear for the personal safety o^ the family, and it 
was from thence they soon sailed quietly for Italy. 







WE have an interregnum in the history of the 
Court of Spain during the republic which held 
rule from February n, 1873, until the restoration 
of the monarchy on December 30, 1874 ; but 
those readers, who like to have some idea of what 
was passing in Spain whilst the palace was empty, 
may be interested in the following particulars, 
drawn from a book entitled " Contemporaneous 
Truths/' by His Excellency Vicente Lafuente. 
These truths were republished by Colonel Figuerola 
Ferretti * in 1898, with an able prologue from the 
officer's pen, to show those malcontents who 
wished to return to this form of government 
how baneful it was for the welfare of the 

Queen Maria Cristina graciously accepted the 
book from the Colonel, who was then a Chamber- 
lain at her Court, and it doubtless served to dis- 
perse the false ideas as to the nature of a Spanish 
republic which had arisen in the minds of those 

* This Spaniard is connected on his mother's side with Pope 
Pius IX. (Mastai-Ferretti), whilst his father was Figuerola, 
the patriot of Cuba. 


From a Painting by Miss A. J. Challice, exhibited at the Royal Academy, London 

To face page 242 

Some Truths about the Republic 

^ . .. - ~ ^'^s^*-^. ^- < ~"*^ ^'~*> 

who were absent from the country whilst it held 

Twenty-five years had elapsed since Spain 
adopted the republic, but, as Figuerola Ferretti 
reminds his readers, that time had not obliterated 
the horrors of that period from those who belonged 
to that time. 

Those who were inclined to regard a republic 
as an ideal form of government were reminded that 
the fatal night of February n, 1873, saw the 
opening of the Pandora box, whence issued all 
sorts of moral and political calamities, which 
spread like a black cloud over the Spanish nation 
in both worlds. With the enthronement of moral 
and material disorder, licence and anarchy came 
from all sides, to the increase of impiety and 
corruption of customs, the ruin of families, the 
debasement of the public credit, the demoraliza- 
tion of the forces on sea and land, the loss of 
honour and national dignity, and the peril of 
the independence and integrity of the country 
both in the Peninsula and in America. 

Such is the picture of the republic from the 
night of February n, 1873, until the morning 
of January 3, 1874, when it was dissolved by the 
coup of General Pavia. This opinion is no mere 
expression of party rancour, for, as it is founded 
on the facts and events recorded in the Gazette 
and the Journal of the Sessions of the Cortes, which 
were noted day by day, they became, under the 
pen of the historian Lafuente, the true history 
which, according to Cicero, is " the light of truth 
and the master of life." 

243 Q 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

A few quotations from this diary of facts, which 
Ferretti republished as an antidote to the anti- 
dynastic feelings which were aroused by the 
loss of Cuba, give some idea of the effect of the 
republic on Spain : 

" February 16, 1873. Assassinations in Mon- 
tilla under shocking circumstances. Eight houses 
sacked and burnt ; Senor Robobo assassinated 
and quartered. Abolition of the oath of loyalty 
in the army. 

" February 20 and 21. During these days the 
theatre of Barcelona was the scene of dreadful 
military orgies and acts of immorality and bar- 
barism. The column of Cabrinati rebelled in 
Santa Coloma de Fames, at the instigation of 
the republicans, and the cry of ' Down with the 
officers !' was heard all over Catalonia. 

" February 24. There was a general Car list 
rising in Navarre, and a call to arms of all men 
between twenty and forty years of age. 

" February 28. The neighbourhood of Madrid, 
in view of the prevailing want of discipline and 
the ease with which dwellings could be invaded, 
began organizing armed bands. 

" March 15. The battalion of ' the Cazadores 
of Madrid ' committed unspeakable horrors in 
Falset, and several companies of Catalonia began 
a course of pillage and immorality. 

" March 17. General Hidalgo harangued the 
savage soldiers of Falset, but he was so hissed 
that he was obliged to retire, like almost all the 
other officers. 

" March 18. A great meeting was held at San 


Some Truths about the Republic 

Isidro, where the public commemorated what they 
called ' the glories of the Commune of Paris/ 
which they were evidently seeking to imitate." 

The record of March closes with the mention 
of the occupation of the churches of Barcelona as 
barracks and theatres. 

April 3 we read : " The republicans of 
Manresa invade and profane a church, take 
possession of the library and rooms of the 
seminary, and the town-hall of Tarragona. 

" May 13. An electoral meeting in Barcelona ; 
the popular Mayor Buxo is wounded by a 
stone. The voluntary troops of Madrid knock 
down and wound the chaplain of the hospital, 
insult the officials who seek to release him, and 
commit various robberies and assassinations, so 
that the troops have to be called out against them. 

" June 3. In Madrid and other places the 
procession of the Corpus Christi could not take 
place on account of the uproars in the streets. 
Orgies in the churches of Belen and San Jose at 
Barcelona, and indecent balls, in which the 
mysteries of our redemption were mocked at. 

" June 16. Horrible assassinations at Bande 
(Orense). Sixty unhappy beings of all ages and 
both sexes fell victims to this savagery/* 

After three days' fighting the international 
incendiaries and assassins were expelled from 
Seville, leaving the city stained with blood and 
injured by fire. 

" September 23. General Don Manuel Pavia was 
appointed Governor of Madrid/' 

Carlism was rapidly gaining ground during 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

these months. There were 8,000 Carlists in 
Aragon and Valencia, and as many more in 
Catalonia, 12,000 in Navarre, and more than that 
number in the Basque provinces, thus making 
more than 40,000 Carlists in all Spain. 

"November 7. Senor Castelar, the President of 
the Republic, was daily losing power in the Con- 
gress, where neither eloquence nor good sense 
seemed to have any sway over the turbulent 

When the Corporation of the city became 
disaffected from the Government, it seemed to 
the Governor of Madrid that it was time for him 
to assert the power of military rule. 

So on December 2, when the chamber of the 
Congress was nothing but a scene of riot and 
disorder, each deputy striving by his loud voice 
and violent actions to overpower his fellow, the 
cultured Castelar, the head of the republic, 
whose orations would have reflected honour on 
the Areopagus of old, was met by a vote of want 
of confidence. 

Then was the time for General Pavia's action. 
Arthur Houghton, correspondent to The Times 
at Madrid, gives, in his " French History of the 
Restoration of the Bourbons/' the account of 
this coup in the General's own words ; for, favoured 
by the soldiers' friendship, Mr. Houghton had the 
opportunity of hearing the story first-hand, and 
the smart General, looking spruce and trim in 
his well-cut black frock, would often talk to the 
Englishman, when he met him in the salons of 
Madrid, of the way he took matters into his own 


Some Truths about the Republic 

hand when the republican Parliament could not 
manage the Congress. 

:< No, no/* said the former Governor of Madrid, 
" I admitted nobody into my counsel, but, under 
the stress of circumstances, I took all the re- 
sponsibility upon myself. When I heard how the 
Assembly had given voice to a vote of want of 
confidence in Castelar, I thought the hour had 
come ; and as the session the next day increased 
in force and disorder, whilst the hours of early 
dawn succeeded those of the evening and the 
night in fruitless and violent discussion, I called 
a company of the Civil Guard, and another of 
the Cazadores, and, to their surprise, I led them 
to the square in front of the Congress, and 
stationed them all round the building. Then, 
entering the Parliament with a few picked men, I 
surprised the deputies by ordering them to leave 
the House. A few shots were fired in the corridor 
on those who sought to defy the military order, 
so the members did not long resist, and by four 
o'clock in the morning I found myself in complete 
command of the House. I called a Committee, with 
the power to form a Ministry, of which General 
Serrano was once more elected President, and 
thus ensued the second period of the republic." 

This brilliant and successful coup reminds one 
of that of our Oliver Cromwell when he freed the 
country of a particular Government ; but in this 
case of military sway in Spain General Pavia 
acted from no aims of self-interest, but only for 
the restoration of order, which it was his duty 
as Governor of the city to preserve. 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

During the second period of the republic, 
which lasted from January 4, 1874, till Decem- 
ber 30 of the same year, Serrano had his hands 
weighted with two civil wars the never-ceasing 
one of Carlism in the Peninsula, as well as that 
of Cuba and, as Francisco Pare] a de Alarcon 
says, in the criticism which he publishes in the 
above-mentioned work on this period, the Govern- 
ment formed under Serrano proved unable to 
restore order and save Spain from the dishonour 
which was threatening it. 

So when the Ministers heard of the rising at 
Sagunto, on December 29, 1874, for the restoration 
of the monarchy, they knew that the movement 
was really supported by leading military men, who 
had been inspired thereto by the ladies of the 
land, who resented the irreligion and disorder of 
the republic ; and, as they saw that resistance 
would only lead to another disastrous civil war, 
they resigned their posts peacefully. 

It was thus that the son of Isabella II. was 
raised to the throne. And Alarcon says : " The 
hypocritical banner of ' the country's honour ' 
was set aside ; for had it not meant the support 
of a foreign monarchy, destitute of prestige ; 
and then an unbridled, antisocial, impious, and 
anarchical republic, which was a blot on the 
history of our unhappy Spain in these latter days, 
which have been so full of misfortunes under the 
government of the ambitious parties which har- 
rowed and exploited under different names and 
banners ?" 

The Circulo Hispano Ultramarino in Barcelona, 


Some Truths about the Republic 

agitating continually for the restoration of Al- 
fonso XII., was a strong agent in the monarchical 
movement. Figuerola Ferretti worked strenuously 
as secretary of the society, and this officer is the 
possessor of the only escutcheon signed by 
Alfonso XII., in which he paid tribute to the 
Colonel's valiant conduct in the Cuban War of 

It is interesting to see that the opinion of 
the republic published in " Contemporaneous 
Truths " by this Ferretti was echoed by the great 
leader of the party himself, for Sefior Castelar 
writes : ' ' There were days during that summer 
of 1874 in which our Spain seemed completely 
ruined. The idea of legality was so lost that any- 
body could assume power, and notify the fact to 
the Cortes, and those whose office it was to make 
and keep the laws were in a perpetual ferment 
against them. 

" It was no question then, as before, of one 
Ministry replacing another, nor one form of 
government substituting another ; but a country 
was divided into a thousand parts, like the Kalifat 
of Cordova after its fall, and the provinces were 
inundated by the most out-of-the-way ideas and 

When the great republican speaks in such a 
derogatory way of the republic of which he was 
the leader, it is not strange that public opinion 
turned to the restoration of the Bourbons as the 
salvation of the country. Society clamoured for 
such balls and entertainments as had formerly 
taken place at Court, or which had been patro- 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

nized by the palace, and the dreary disorder 
wearied both politicians and patriots. 

The house of the Dukes of Heredia-Spinola 
never ceased to be the scene of the reunion of 
Alf onsists, and as General Martinez Campos played 
his daily game of tresillo at their table, many ex- 
pressions of hope for the return of the ex-Queen's 
son fell upon his ears ; whilst the Countess of Tacon, 
who had been Lady-in- Waiting to the little Prince 
of Asturias as a child, was loud in her opinions. 
It is interesting to note that this lady subsequently 
filled the same office for the restored King's little 
daughter, the Princess of Asturias, Dona Maria de 
las Mercedes. 

From a social point of view the salon of the old 
Countess of Montijo ranked foremost in Madrid, 
and it assembled within its walls the frequenters 
of Court society in the reign of Isabella. Scenes 
from " Don Quixote " were given with great suc- 
cess at the Countess's little theatre ; and the year 
of the restoration was marked by a very successful 
dramatic representation, in which some of the 
members of the old nobility took part. 

Moreover, the services held every Friday in 
the private chapel of the mansion, where great 
preachers made remarkable orations, were a pro- 
test against the irreligion of the period. On these 
occasions ladies of Court society, among whom 
may be noted Clara Hunt, wife of one of the diplo- 
mats of the English Embassy who was quite a 
notable singer gave proofs of their talent. 

The niece of the Count of Nava de Tajo was 
another of the distinguished ladies who frequented 


Some Truths about the Republic 

the salon of the Countess of Montijo. The Count 
was varied in his interests. One afternoon he 
paid a series of visits, beginning with the Pope's 
Nuncio, going on to the house of Canovas, then to 
Roque Barcia, who was asking for subscriptions 
for his famous dictionary, and ending with the 
unhappy Lopez Bago, who was seeking support for 
his Review of the Salons, of which only three or 
four numbers were ever published. 





THE foregoing brief sketch of the political and 
social life in Spain during the republic will have 
given some idea of the joy which filled Spanish 
hearts at seeing the Bourbons once more on the 
throne of Spain in the person of Alfonso XII. 
Madrid indeed was wild with joy when the little 
Prince whom we saw at eleven years of age, in his 
blue velvet suit and lace collar, leaving his country 
as an exile, with his mother and family, re- 
entered the royal palace as a young man eighteen 
years old in January, 1875, having wisely passed 
through Catalonia, which Martinez Campos had 
gained over to the cause, and pleased the 
people by saying : "I wish to be King of all 
Spaniards. " 

As Isabella had abdicated in favour of her son 
on June 26, 1870, there was no impediment to his 
taking the oath of coronation soon after he was 
summoned to the Spanish capital. Of a good 
figure, gentlemanly, and well cultured, Alfonso 
added the art of good dressing to his other attrac- 
tions, and the excellent taste and cut of his clothes 








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OH >> 

2 1 

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Court Life in Spain under Alfonso X1L 

led to his being called " the Beau Brummell of 

The Countess of Campo-Alange, who had as- 
sisted at the ceremony, in Paris, of Isabella's abdica- 
tion in favour of her son, was one of the first to pay 
her respects to Alfonso XII. on his return as King 
to the Court of Spain. She went in a beautiful 
costume of crushed-strawberry-coloured satin, and 
she carried in her hand a snuff-box decorated with 
a picture of the entry of Charles IV. into Badajoz, 
and it was with a graceful speech that the Countess 
drew the King's attention to the miniature. 

" What a memory you have, Marchioness !" 

" Oh, facts and people remain in my mind when 
they are forgotten by others/' returned the lady ; 
and the affectionate look she cast at the King 
reminded him of her fidelity to his family. 

In his youthful exuberance of spirits, the young 
King was always ready to join in any frolic, 
although he was not lacking in serious and 

ftelligent application to matters of State. 
It was the Monday preceding Shrove Tuesday, 
and Alfonso had remarked somewhat regretfully 
that the rollicking spirit of the season seemed 
somewhat subdued. This the Duke of Tamanes 
determined to remedy, so, when the Cabinet was 
assembling for a royal audience, he swiftly emptied 
a bag of flour over the head of the Minister of 
War, who gravely sat down to business in his 
transformed condition, much to the amusement of 

The young King was always genial and affable, 
and anxious to avoid too much ceremonial eti- 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

quette when it might cause discomfort to those 
who followed it. 

One day he came unexpectedly into the Archaeo- 
logical Museum of Madrid with an Austrian Prince. 
There he found two men studying with their hats 
on ; for all those who use public institutions in 
Madrid know that the cold is intense during the 
winter in these buildings. At the entrance of 
Alfonso the students promptly bared their 

" Don't do that/' said the young King kindly ; 
" put your hats on again, or I shall have to take 
off mine." 

Alfonso was a bright and attractive figure in 
Spanish Court society. His gift of making verses, 
either gay or sentimental, as the occasion war- 
ranted, was always attractive, and he slackened 
the stiff rules of Court life as much as possible. 

The Ilustracion Espaflola y Americana publishes 
an excellent account of the historic ball given by 
the restored monarch : 

" The festivities which celebrated the restoration 
of King Alfonso XII. in the feudal mansions of 
Spain finally saw their culmination in the magnifi- 
cent ball given at the royal palace by the young 
monarch and his widowed sister, the Infanta 
Isabella, the heir to the throne, on January 15, 

" The state apartments were illuminated by 
millions of candles in the crystal chandeliers ; the 
double-winged splendid staircase guarded at the 
foot by the historic white marble lions, and lined 
with the Royal Guard of thejHalberdiers in their 


Court Life in Spain under Alfonso XIL 

high black-cloth leggings, slashed scarlet cutaway 
coats, tricorn white-banded hats, and their glitter- 
ing Toledan steel halberds, at attention was 
crowded with thousands of guests in gorgeous 
uniforms and lovely toilettes, who were radiant at 
this opportunity of once more greeting royalty at 
a great fete. 

" The King, with his sister, looked smiling and 
happy, and their genial words of welcome warmed 
the hearts of the guests. 

" The fine ballroom was soon filled with the 
stream of people in gorgeous array ; the large 
mirrors on the wall reflected the dancing of the 
stately rigodons, so that they could be seen from 
the entrance of the room even by those who could 
not obtain a place within its precincts. 

" A magnificent supper was served, and so 
perfect was the arrangement that 3,000 people 
were able to partake of it without confusion. 

" To the royalties who gave this ball it offered 
little real enjoyment, for the strict Court etiquette 
only allowed them to dance a few rigodons accord- 
ing to the protocol, and to pass through some of 
the illuminated salons, where they greeted those 
privileged to approach them." 

In his anxiety to make acquaintance with his 
kingdom, Alfonso went this year to Barcelona, 
Granada, Malaga, Seville, Asturias, Galicia, etc., 
and he took his place as the head of the grandees 
of Spain when, with all due pomp and ceremony, 
he was made Grand Master of the Orders of 
Santiago, Alcantara, Calatrava, and Montesa. 

It was on December 8 in this year that the Duke 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

of Sexto went to Seville to formally ask for the 
hand of Dona Maria Mercedes, the seventeen-year- 
old daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Mont- 
pensier, in marriage for her cousin Alfonso XII. 

The royal suitor had long been attracted to this 
charming girl, and during the years of his exile 
many were the happy days he spent with his cousin 
in his vacations from Sandhurst at Vichy. When 
walking out together in the watering-place, the 
thoughts of the young people would sometimes 
wander to the possible future, and the young 
cadet, whose purse was occasionally very at- 
tenuated, would regretfully turn away from some 
pretty present he would gladly have bought for 
his cousin, saying : " It is rather dear ; but never 
mind, I will buy it when I am King." 

The account of the delicate mission of the Duke 
of Sexto, the Marquis de la Front era, the Chamber- 
lain, and Don Fernando Mendoza, Secretary of the 
Etiquette and Mayordomo of the Royal Palace, is 
given in the publication mentioned below.* The 
Duke and Duchess of Montpensier were in the 
white salon of their palace when they received the 
request for the hand of their daughter in marriage 
to the reigning King of Spain ; and they were well 
pleased with the suggested alliance, as they 
trusted that the hope of Louis Philippe, that his 
descendant should sit upon the throne of Spain, 
would soon now be fulfilled. 

When Alfonso followed the favourable reception 
of his request by a visit to Seville, all went merrily 
enough in the royal circle. 

* "The Wooing and Marriage of Alfonso XII." 

Court Life in Spain under Alfonso XIL 

A magnificent Court ball was given at the 
Palace of San Telmo on December 26, to celebrate 
the royal engagement. The first rigodon was led 
off by the King with his fiancee, looking fascinat- 
ing, gowned in white and glistening with jewels ; 
the Infanta Dona Luisa Fernanda danced with the 
Duke of Sexto, and Alfonso excited much admira- 
tion by the able way he conducted the cotillon. 

However, the Princess of Mercedes had not been 
the only girl friend young Alfonso had had during 
his exile. For when he could not go to the Mont- 
pensiers at Vichy, the ex-King liked to visit the 
Austrian Archduke and Duchess at Biarritz, as 
he found their daughter Maria Cristina tres bonne 
camarade, and well able to hold her own with him 
in a game of tennis or billiards. Maria Cristina 
seems to have been attracted by Alfonso, for when 
his marriage was announced with Mercedes of 
Montpensier, she joined the rich and noble Chapter 
of Prague, of which she accepted the responsible 
office of Lady Abbess, with an annual income of 
20,000 marks. 

The marriage of Mercedes and Alfonso took 
place on January 23 with all befitting ceremony. 
The Patriarch of the Indias blessed the union in 
the Church of Atocha. The ex-King Francisco 
was best man, and the Infanta Isabella represented 
her grandmother, Queen Maria Cristina, as the 
chief lady at the ceremony. 

The retinue of the palace, the grandees, the 
fine caparisoned horses with their bright-liveried 
lackeys, the gorgeous coaches with their magnifi- 
cent trappings, all made a striking show as they 

257 R 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

swept through the Spanish capital from the church 
to the Court. 

But a note of horror was struck when a sudden 
awful sound was heard, and a woman fell dead 
struck by a bomb ; but no other fatality occurred, 
and cheers filled the air as the troops of the capital 
filed before the palace, where the Royal Family 
witnessed the review from the windows. 

The genial character of the young King was seen 
in a letter to an Archduke, a college friend, 
shortly before the death of his beloved Mercedes. 
This friend, with all due respect to Alfonso as 
King, mentioned the fact of his marriage with a 
young Princess of Spain. To this communication 
the King replied that he never forgot college 
friends, whom he preferred in many cases to later 

"I forbid you to address me as 'Majesty'; 
treat me as you treated me in the Teresiano. When 
you marry, come to Madrid with your wife, whom 
I shall at once regard as a friend. Mercedes is 
very kind ; we will hunt, and we will chat about 
old times, and so your honeymoon will be spent as 
happily as mine was. . . ." 

But a telegram soon followed this bright and 
happy letter. It ran thus : 


" Queen Mercedes is dead. May God give 
you in your marriage the happiness which He has 
denied me! In your approaching days of joy 
remember the woe of your friend. 



Court Life in Spain under Alfonso XII. 

It may be mentioned that Queen Isabella wrote 
to Madrid to signify her displeasure at her son's 
marriage, for the fact that the daughter of Mont- 
pensier, who had intrigued to succeed her on the 
throne, became Queen of Spain was rather a 
bitter pill to swallow. 

However, all animosity on that score ceased at 
the death of the beautiful and lovable Queen, 
who had had undisputed sway in the heart of her 
young husband, and whose intelligence and good 
feeling at the age of eighteen had promised so 
much good for the country. There were not 
lacking those who attributed the dreadful event 
to the enemies of the Montpensiers, but others said 
it was due to a chill. During the sufferings of the 
last few hours the young husband sat in sorrow 
by the bedside, and the much-loved wife strove 
between her attacks of pain to comfort him with 
the hope of meeting in a future world. 

At last all was over, and the poor young Queen 
was laid out in state on a low couch in the stately 
Hall of Columns. This Hall of Columns was often 
used for state banquets, but, after being the scene 
of the last sad functions in honour of his beloved 
wife, Alfonso had a new banqueting-hall built, and 
the salon of such sad memories has never since 
been used for any but solemn ceremonies, such as 
the washing the feet and feeding the beggars by 
royalty on Maunday Thursday, the Chapter of one 
of the grand military Orders, etc. 

The corpse of the young Queen was dressed in 
the white garb and black cape of a nun of the 
Convent of Don Juan de Alarcon ; the lower part 

259 R 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

of her face was covered with a white gauze hand- 
kerchief ; her beautiful white hands, which looked 
like wax, were crossed on her bosom ; and her face, 
which had been so admired a few short weeks 
before when, according to the custom of Spain, 
she passed through the streets on foot on Holy 
Thursday, to make her visits to the churches in 
company with her husband and the Court- 
looked drawn with pain and fever as it lay in the 
light of countless candles. 

The public denied sadly through the mortuary 
chapel, and many were the Masses celebrated by 
the Church dignitaries on the altar erected at the 
end of the hall. 

On the day of the funeral the royal cortege 
solemnly passed down the soldier-lined streets to 
the station. The sound of the horses' hoofs was 
deadened by the tan with which the roads were 
strewn, and the silence was only broken by the 
piercing note of an occasional clarion or the dull 
tattoo of the muffled drums. Grandees, Gentle- 
men-in- Waiting, mace-bearers, and officers, all with 
crape badges, preceded the catafalque, before 
which was borne the standard of the Sisterhood 
of the Royal House, followed by the cross and 
the clerics in their vestments. Finally came 
the band of the halberdiers, whose soblike 
strains of a funeral march was in tune with the 

At last, for the first time in history, the remains 
of a Queen were placed on a railway-train for the 
Escorial, and so the coffin of Mercedes left the 
station amid the booming of the cannon and the 


Court Life in Spain under Alfonso XIL 

strains of the Royal March played for the last 
time in her honour. 

A short time after the death of the Queen, 
Alfonso was the object of a regicidal attempt as 
he was passing No. 93 of the Calle Mayor, on his 
way from the station to the royal palace after a 
visit to Asturias. The criminal was a young fellow, 
twenty years of age, from Tarragona, named Juan 
Oliva Montcousi, and he was caught with the 
pistol in his hand before he had time to discharge 
it. The young King was enthusiastically ac- 
claimed when he calmly pursued his way home as 
if nothing had happened. 

Alfonso's three younger sisters, Dona Pilar, Dona 
Paz, and Dona Eulalia, were often seen at this 
time in a quiet carriage making excursions to- 
gether, so when the news of the death of Dona 
Pilar spread through the capital it gave quite a 
shock to Spain. 

It was said that the death of the Infanta Dona 
Pilar was indirectly due to a shock received during 
the review held in honour of the Prince of Austria. 
This Prince was known to have made a favourable 
impression on the Infanta, and if she had lived it 
would probably have resulted in a marriage. But, 
unfortunately, as the artillery carriages in the 
military function were passing down the Alcala, 
one blew up and killed several soldiers on the spot. 
Perhaps for a moment the Infanta feared that the 
honoured guest was among the killed and wounded. 
Be that as it may, she and other members of the 
Royal Family were upset in the carriage, and she 
died six weeks later. 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Talk of the second marriage of the King followed 
very soon after the death of Queen Mercedes, as a 
direct heir to the throne was so essential to the 
country, and all eyes turned to Maria Cristina 
Enriqueta Reniera, daughter of Charles Ferdinand, 
Archduke of Austria, as the future Queen of Spain. 
The Duke of Bailen went to Vienna to ask the 
Emperor Joseph of Austria for the hand of his 
daughter, the Archduchess Maria Cristina. for 
his Sovereign, King Alfonso of Spain. 

On August 22 Alfonso arrived at Arcachon, 
incognito, under the title of the Marquis of Cova- 
donga, to claim in person the hand of the 

Alfonso had reason to expect he would be 
favoured by Maria Cristina, as she had always 
seemed to enjoy his society when he came to visit 
her family, as a young cadet from Sandhurst. The 
royal wooer gave expression to his poetic feeling 
when he found himself on such a delicate mission 
at the beautiful spot which had been so frequented 
by our poet Shelley. People in the place seemed 
at once to recognize the royal visitor, especially 
as he wore his arm in a sling, from the effect 
of a carriage accident which had been noised 

Anxious for the interview which was to decide 
his fate, Alfonso took a basket pony-carriage from 
Monaco to Arcachon, and, in company with the 
Duke of Tetuan and the Spanish Ambassador from 
France, he soon found himself at the Villa Belle- 
garde, the abode of the Archdukes of Austria. 

When the young King passed into the salon, 


Court Life in Spain under Alfonso XIL 

where he was soon welcomed by Maria Cristina, 
his eyes fell upon the portrait of Mercedes, whom 
he had lost a few short months before, and he 
soon found that his bride-elect was in sympathy 
with his sorrow for his loss, for, in a voice trembling 
with emotion, she said : 

" My dearest desire is to resemble Mercedes in 
all things, and even if I am to succeed her I can 
never dare hope to supplant her/' 

Such a sympathetic speech could but unseal the 
heart of the widowed King, and, having succeeded 
in his wooing, Alfonso could hardly tear himself 
from the side of the young Archduchess, with 
whom he could talk so freely of the wife he had 

On August 29 the young King finally left 
Arcachon ; the Archduchess accompanied him as 
far as Bordeaux, and the royal marriage was fixed 
for November 29. 

When the Archduke and Duchess and their 
daughter arrived at the Casa de Campo on 
November 23, they were met by the King, his 
three sisters, and the royal retinue, who accom- 
panied them to the Palace of the Pardo, where 
the marriage settlement was signed on the 28th. 

The bride-elect won all hearts by her delicate 
and sympathetic behaviour on the occasion, for, 
turning to the Patriarch of the Indias, she 
said, in a voice broken with feeling : " Pray 
that I may make the King happy, for it is 
a difficult task to succeed a Queen who was a 
saint, and who will always live in the affections 
of the King and the people of Spain ;." and 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

here she drew a miniature of Mercedes from her 
bosom, and gazed at it with respectful admiration. 

This ceremony took place in the banqueting- 
hall of Ferdinand VII. , and, to the delight of the 
Spanish people, it was graced by the presence of 
the ex-Queen, Isabella II. 

" The great Isabella is coming !" was the cry 
that rang through the capital, and the dethroned 
Queen was moved at the enthusiasm of her 
quondam subjects as she passed through the city, 
for she saw that there was more fidelity in her 
people of low degree than there had been gratitude 
in the hearts of the great whom she had over- 
whelmed with favours. 

The wedding ceremony took place in the 
Church of Atocha, and hardly was the service 
concluded when the King's bride went and knelt 
at the feet of Isabella and kissed her hand. It 
was a tribute of gratitude to her royal mother-in- 
law, for it was a fact that the influence of his 
mother had led the young King to take his new 
bride from the House of Austria. Isabella had 
signified her disapproval of the union with the 
Montpensiers by not being present at that wed- 
ding, but this marriage she favoured from the 

A few days after the royal marriage an attempt 
was made on the lives of the young couple, by a 
man named Francisco Otero Gonzalez, as they 
arrived at the chief entrance to the royal palace ; 
but, fortunately, although the bullet almost 
grazed the forehead and' neck of the King and 
Queen, they escaped unwounded. 


Court Life in Spain under Alfonso XII. 

Queen Maria Cristina is a very accomplished 
woman, and she soon set herself to learn the 
language of her adopted country. In her eager- 
ness to master the tongue, she often turned to 
King Alfonso to supply her with the word she 
required, and, in fun, he would often supply her 
with some expression which she saw, by the looks 
of her entourage, was hardly fitting for a lady. 
Maria Cristina proved she had made great pro- 
gress in Spanish when she was able, with all the 
gracious courtesy for which she was noted, to ask 
of a certain academician, who was complaining 
of the hatred of Sagasta, would he not do better to 
use the word inquina than inqmnia ? 

The affection with which the Queen inspired 
the young King was seen in his daily letters to 
the Court when journeys on State business obliged 
him to absent himself from Madrid. 

I have jus put your carnation in water/ ' he 
would write ; and the many other allusions to 
their little domestic joys showed that the heart 

the King was with the Queen in his absence. 

The Queen had to contend with national 


lousy at Court when she intimated her wish 
it her Austrian physician, Dr. Riedel, should 
attend her in her forthcoming accouchement. 
Court etiquette was not, however, to be set aside 
even by the chief lady in the land, so the matter 
was finally settled by the doctors of both countries 
presiding jointly over the event. Thus the little 
Princess of Asturias made her entry into the 
world, on September n, 1880, with her right 
hand held by the Austrian physician, Dr. Riedel, 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

and her left in the grasp of the Court doctor of 

The young King proudly presented his little 
daughter to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, 
the Court officials, and the military diplomats and 
clerical dignitaries, assembled in the antechamber, 
as she lay in a nest of costly lace on the historic 
silver tray. 

On September 14 the baptism of the infant 
Princess of Asturias was celebrated with all the 
pomp usual to the occasion. The galleries were 
hung with the historic tapestries, representing 
Bible scenes. The Royal Guard, in their classic 
dress and with their shining halberds, formed a 
line on either side of the gallery between the 
people and the royal procession. 

First came the Gentlemen-in- Waiting, de casa y 
boca (of the house and the mouth), their gold 
or silver keys signifying the respective offices 
of attendance ; then came four mace - bearers, 
grandees of Spain, the men-at-arms with the 
royal arms, all the Infantes and Infantas in full 
Court dress, with their ladies and gentlemen in 
attendance ; the seven gentlemen of the Chamber 
the Marquis of Salamanca, the Dukes of 
Almenara and Valencia, Count Villanueva de 
Perales, the Marquis of Sotomayor, the Marquis 
of Benamejis de Sistallo, and the Count ofji 
Superunda all passed in gorgeous dress and with 
stately step, bearing respectively the salt, cut 
lemon, cruise of oil, piece of cotton-wool, the cake, 
the white cape, and the water of Jordan, which 
all had their part to play in the baptismal service. | 



To face page 266 

Court Life in Spain under Alfonso XII, 

The royal infant itself was carried between 
Isabel II., who was godmother, and the Pope's 
Nuncio, who represented His Holiness as god- 
father. Then followed the proud young father, 
accompanied by his military suite, and the pro- 
cession ended with the band of the halberdiers, 
playing a cheerful march from an opera. By 
the wish of the Queen, the infant Princess was 
named, after her predecessor, Mercedes. 

It was in 1882 the King and Queen paid a visit 
to the Duke and Duchess of Montpensier at their 
beautiful Palace of Sanlucar de Bairameda, and 
the Queen won the hearts of her host and hostess 
by her charming manners and the admiration 
with which she always spoke of their daughter, 
the late wife of Alfonso. 

On November 12, 1882, the Infanta Maria 
Teresa was born, and two days later she was 
baptized with the customary ceremony. 

On April 2, 1883, the King's sister, Dona de la 
Paz, was married very quietly to Prince Lewis 
Ferdinand of Bavaria. The Prince is a very 
able surgeon, and when he comes to Madrid he 
delights in going to the military hospital and 
exhibiting his scientific skill on some soldier- 

The newly wedded pair laid the foundation- 
stone of the Cathedral of the Almudena, and, 
according to the custom, the Princess de la Paz 
placed in the casket a poem from her own pen to 
the Virgin of the Almudena. The departure of 
the Infanta de la Paz left the Infanta Eulalia with 
no companion in her musical and artistic tastes, 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

for the sisters had worked, played, painted, and 
poetized, together. 

In September, 1883, Alfonso XII. went to 
France and Germany. True to his old friends, 
the King went to see the Warden of the Teresian 
College at his private house. As he was not at 
home, Alfonso asked for a pencil and paper to 
write him a note, which he handed to the servant. 
When she saw that the letter ran, 

" I came to pay a debt of gratitude by coming 
to see you. I shall be going to the Teresian 
College in two hours. 

ALFONSO, King of Spain " 

she fell on her knees and entreated forgiveness 
for her stupidity in having asked the royal visitor 
into the kitchen. 

But Alfonso, with his usual kindness, expressed 
interest in this, the first kitchen he had ever seen. 
He asked many questions about the utensils, and 
showed great curiosity about the use of a ceramic 
vessel, which, according to the description he 
subsequently gave and the sketch he made of it 
to show the Court officials, proved to be an 

The enthusiastic reception accorded to Alfonso 
at Homburg excited the ire of the French, and so 
antagonistic was the exhibition of public feeling 
as the young King was crossing Paris alone that 
he informed the President of the Republic that 
he would recall his Ambassador at once. This 
prompt act brought the necessary apology, and 
the King of Spain subsequently attended the 


Court Life in Spain under Alfonso XII* 

banquet given in his honour at the Elysee, at 
which the Minister of War was absent, as the 
President of France had asked him to send in 
his resignation. 

The news of this contretemps reached Spain, 
and when the Queen returned from La Granja to 
Madrid she was at first quite alarmed at the 
enthusiasm shown by the people at the station, 
he clasped her children to her breast, and seemed 
o think she was 'on the brink of a revolu- 
ion. But her fears were soon stilled when 
unebody shouted: "Senora, the Spanish people 
e only protesting against the recent events in 

The return of the King from France saw an 
vation of equal enthusiasm, and, in defiance 
f all Court etiquette, the people pressed up the 
taircases and into the galleries of the palace, 
rying : " Viva el Rey y la Reina !" 

It was on Maunday Thursday, 1884, that the 
'ourt went for the last time in state to make the 
ustomary visits on foot to the chief churches of 
he capital. There was the usual service in the 
orning in the chapel of the palace, the washing 
f the beggars' feet and feeding them,* and 
e solemn, imposing public procession at three 
'clock in the afternoon. The streets were 
trewed with tan to soften the cobbled stones to 
e feet of the ladies, whose high-heeled velvet 
: thoes rather impeded their walk. The streets were 
|ined with troops, and the Plazas de Oriente, 
yor, and La Incarnacion, were respectively 

: This ceremony is described on pp. 332-4. 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

filled with the regiment of the Princess of Pavij 
and the artillery. 

First came a mounted company of the Civilj 
Guard ; then a long line of kettle- drummers, th< 
grooms and all the officials of the Court, all ii 
full dress ; then the six men-at-arms with theirl 
embroidered vestments, the Chamberlains, gentiles} 
hombres, the grandees of Spain, the King's military] 
retinue, etc. 

Their Majesties walked between the lines of| 
halberdiers, followed by the Patriarch of th< 
Indias, the Ministers of the Crown, the chiefs ofl 
the palace, the Ladies-in- Waiting, and the Aides-] 
de-Camp of the King and Queen. 

A Captain of the Guard and about thirty lackeys] 
carried the historic sedan-chairs, and notabli 
among them were those of the Dukes of Granada^ 
Osuna, and Villahermosa, ornamented with beauti-| 
ful paintings. 

The procession ended with a company of hal-| 
berdiers and a squadron of the royal escort. 

Don Alfonso walked with martial step, his head] 
in the air, and smiling pleasantly to all the friends 
he saw. He was in the uniform of Captain-] 
General, with the Order of the Golden Fleece an< 
other decorations. 

In this final public visit to " the Virgins/' th< 
Queen wore a white velvet robe embroidered with] 
gold and ornamented with sapphire buttons, an< 
her necklace and bracelets were of the sam< 
precious stones. She wore the Orders of Maria| 
Luisa and the starred Cross of Austria. Th< 
dress of the Infanta Isabella was of pale blu< 


Court Life in Spain under Alfonso XII. 

velvet embroidered with flowers, and all the 
dresses and mantles of the royal ladies were of 
equal magnificence, with tiaras of jewels and 
feathers and mantillas on their heads, and, as all 
the ladies of the Court also had their places in the 
procession in splendid attire, one can imagine it 
was a superb show ; but it was not one to be seen 
again in the public streets. 

The health of the King was now beginning 
to give anxiety at Court, and loyal subjects 
regretted that people in high places did not use 
their influence to stimulate the King in his 
good desires for the welfare of the land, instead 
of pandering to his fancies with adulation and 

Charming ladies literally forced their way into 
the palace, and one day Queen Maria Cristina 
gave a well-deserved* box on the ears to the Duke 
of Sexto, when she came upon him introducing a 
dancer of light character to His Majesty. It is 
noteworthy that one of the first acts of the Queen 
as a widow was to ask this Duke to resign his post 
at the palace. 

It was to such flattering courtiers that Maria 
Cristina owed the shadows which crossed the 
happiness of her married life, for under good in- 
fluence Alfonso would always have been true to 
Maria Cristina, as the King loved and venerated 
her above all women ; but when politicians en- 
couraged the escapades of an attractive young 
Sovereign the wife's influence was weakened. 
Queen Maria Cristina was deeply offended when 

* " La Vie intime d'Alfonse XII.," par Croze. 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

she found that her husband's connection with this 
Elena Sanz was a well-known fact, two sons being 
born to the singer. 

It was then that it was seen that the Queen was 
no mere weak woman who would submit calmly 
to what might be termed los costumbres (custom) 
of the Court ; and when she found that the King 
had a rendezvous with a sefiorita in the Casa de 
Campo, the magnificent wide-stretching park be- 
yond the palace, she declared she would leave 
Spain and go back to Austria. 

Nothing but the strong pleas and arguments of 
those about her, including Alfonso XII., persuaded 
her to stay at the Spanish Court, and it was 
certainly due to this illustrious lady that a higher 
morality there became customary. For, as nobody 
ever was able to breathe a word against her honour, 
she subsequently exercised her right, as Queen- 
Regent, of sweeping the Court clean of those who 
smirched its purity. 

Moreover, those who had expected Alfonso XII. 
to save Spain by the introduction of a pure and 
unmystified suffrage, such as he had seen in 
England when studying at Sandhurst, were dis- 
appointed in their hopes ; for Canovas, the leader 
of the Conservatives, openly said at Court : "I 
have come to continue the history of Spain'* 
which meant the history when the voice of the 
people is not heard ; and Sagasta, the head of the 
Liberals, acted in the same spirit, although he did 
not express himself so openly. 

Canovas, the leader of the Conservatives, and 
Sagasta, the chief of the Liberals, used all their 


Court Life in Spain under Alfonso XIL 

eloquence at the Court of Spain to persuade 
Alfonso XII. that sincere elections in Spain would 
lead to the Carlists attaining a majority in the 
Congress. So the King, not seeing that the 
leaders of both parties wished to prevent the 
realization of a true Parliamentary representation, 
because it would lose them their patronage of 
deputies' seats, ended by signing the Pacto del 
Par do. This document, endorsed by the King 
at the country palace, was simply an arrangement 
between Canovas and Sagasta, by which each was 
insured an equal period as Prime Minister, so 
that their respective partisans could feel that their 
patrons had the same amount of influence. 

And yet Alfonso XIL, who was overborne by 
what he considered the experience of the two 
leaders, had the welfare of his country at heart, 
for he said to Ernest Daudet : " I am Sovereign, 
and as long as I am King of Spain I will never 
allow a Ministry to be overthrown by an intrigue 
in the palace, as it has frequently happened 
hitherto. If the country wants a Liberal Govern- 
ment, it shall have it ; but, before talking of 
liberty, Spain herself must have both liberty and 
stability. As to those who say I am not accessible 
to truth, it is because they have not tried to show 
it to me. The country is difficult to manage ; it is 
impatient, and cannot see, as I do, that its con- 
dition requires prudence and management. We 
have remade the army ; we have not had a mani- 
festo for three years. We have a standing army 
of 80,000 men, and we have been able to send 
20,000 to Cuba. The insurrection of Cuba is a 

273 s 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

great wound, and it must be healed before we can 
cure the other evils." But the King was never 
allowed to take the sure means of healing these 
wounds ; he was never permitted to say : " I wish 
to respect the people and their votes, and by the 
Law of the Universal Suffrage they can go to the 

With the loss of the love of his life, the young 
Queen Mercedes, Alfonso seemed to become ener- 
vated, and self-interested courtie. s found that they 
could use the King's pocket for the protection of 
needy ladies of all ranks. 

Canovas and Sagasta were both aware of this 
abuse, and, indeed, both these Ministers were 
themselves under the influence of certain ladies, 
who used their power over these Ministers to their 
own pecuniary advantage ; for they themselves 
were liberally rewarded for the titles which they 
persuaded these politicians to ask the King to 

The Queen's ignorance of Spanish when she 
first came to Madrid made it more difficult to 
contravene the influence of the camarillas, which 
wove their nets round the young husband, whose 
real wish for the welfare of the country would have 
made him a willing disciple of good advice. 

Moreover, flattering courtiers carefully con- 
cealed from the King the sad results which would 
inevitably follow his course of self-indulgence, and 
the palace became a constant scene of camarillas 
and intrigues which could but be disastrous to the 

Even Nakens (whose protection of the anarchist 



To face page 274 

Court Life in Spain under Alfonso XIL 

Morral, after the bomb tragedy of the royal 
marriage morn of May 30, 1906, led to his being 
imprisoned for nearly two years) pays tribute to 
the wish of the young King to act for the welfare 
of the kingdom, for, in a collection of his articles 
published when he was in gaol,* we read an appeal 
to Alfonso to consider his own good with regard to 
his health, and not to listen to self-interested 

" Nobody," says the writer in this appeal, " has 
the courage to warn you of the impending evil. 
When the doctors order you change of climate, the 
Government opposes the course for reasons of 
State. ' Reasons of State ' imperil the life of a 
man ! And a man to whom we owe so much ! 

" Therefore, even as a republican, I beg you, as 
the occupier of the throne, to look to your health, 
if it be only to overthrow some iniquitous plan, or 
some unworthy object which is contingent on your 
illness ; and if scientists think it well for you to 
pass the winter in some other place in Spain, or 
abroad, follow their counsel, and not that of 
interested politicians, in ^sacrificing your life to 
their ambitions/' 

It was certainly true that the King was over- 
borne by the intrigues of the politicians in the 
palace. Even in such a little social matter as that 
of wishing to go in costume to a fancy ball, the 
King could not have his own way, for Canovas 
showed such aversion to Alfonso donning fancy 
attire for the occasion that he had to abandon the 
idea and wear his ordinary dress. 

* " Muestras de mi Estilo," Nakens. 

275 S 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

If such influence had been used to the preven- 
tion of the King favouring a danseuse like Elene 
Sanz, which brought so much sorrow and so many 
complications in the Royal Family, his life might 
certainly have been prolonged. It was true that 
the doctors advised the King's wintering in Anda- 
lusia, but " State reasons " led to the failing 
Sovereign being exposed to the colder climate and 
sharp winds of the Palace of the Pardo, where 
politicians could use their influence with the 
invalid, and remind him continually that he alone 
was the arbiter of parties. 

Alfonso was only twenty-seven years of age 
when he felt he was doomed to an early death ; 
but his natural energy led him to take horse 
exercise, despatch business with his Ministers every 
day, and, in spite of daily increasing weakness, to 
do as much as possible. 

If his longing for the sea-breezes of San Sebastian 
had been gratified, his life might have been pro- 
longed ; but politicians gave little heed to the plea, 
and their authority was paramount. 

On November 24, 1894, the royal invalid was 
seized with faintness when he came in from a walk. 
Queen Maria Cristina, Queen Isabella, and the 
Duchess of Montpensier, were called to his side. 
Seeing his wife by him when he recovered con- 
sciousness, the King embraced her, and the 
alarming symptoms vanished for a time ; but the 
following day he was seized with another fainting 
fit, which proved fatal. 

We read in La Ilustracion Espahola of this 
date, that when Queen Maria Cristina was told by 


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Court Life in Spain under Alfonso XII. 

Dr. Riedel that all was over, she fell weeping at 
the head of the bed of her unhappy husband, 
whilst covering his hand with kisses. 

Cardinal Benavides performed the sacred office 
of the occasion. The doctor could not suppress 
his emotion, and hid his face, covered with tears, 
in his hands ; and Count Morphy, the King's faith- 
ful secretary, went sorrowfully to announce the 
sad news to the Queen-mother and the rest of the 
Royal Family. 

At nine o'clock the next morning the little 
daughters came to embrace their father for the 
last time. The Queen, with only the assistance 
of Dr. Camison, prepared the body of her husband 
for burial, and she assisted at the obsequies in the 
Escorial with her little daughter, the Queen of 
Spain. Arrived at the historic monastery, the 
Augustine Brothers came to meet the sad cortege, 
in their black vestments and holding lighted 
torches, and, headed by the Prior and the Prin- 
cipal, the procession passed to the burial-place of 
the Kings. 

The iron seemed to enter the soul of Maria 
Cristina when the Chief of the Palace cried before 
the catafalque : " Senor, sefior, senor !" 

Solemn silence reigned. " Then our Sovereign 
really is no more," said the Chamberlain. He 
broke his wand of office, whilst the drums of the 
halberdiers, the bells of the cathedral, and the 
booming of the cannon, added to the solemnity 
of the occasion. The Bishop of Madrid officiated 
at the final office, after the coffin was finally 
carried with countless candles down into the 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Pantheon, which he had entered ten years before 
in all the exuberance and with all the illusions of 

Then the unhappy widowed Queen returned to 
Madrid, there to pass the sad months till the child 
should be born who might prove the future King 
of Spain. 

It was an impressive sight to see the Queen, 
with her orphaned little girls, take the solemn 
oath of Regency. Putting her hand on the 
Gospels, which the President held open, she said : 

" I swear by God to be faithful to the heir of 
the Crown during the minority, and to guarantee 
the Constitution and the laws. May God help me 
and be my Defence ; and if I fail, may He require 
it of me !" 

Then the Queen sat down with her little girls, 
and the Prime Minister made the following formula : 

"The Parliament has heard the solemn oath 
just made by Her Majesty the Queen-Regent, to 
be faithful to the legitimate successor of Don 
Alfonso XII., and to guard the Constitution and 
its laws." 

The marriage of the Infanta Eulalia with Don 
Antonio, son of the Duke and Duchess of Mont- 
pensier, in 1886, was the next interesting function 
at the Court of Spain. 

The Montpensiers seized this fresh opportunity 
of becoming connected with the Spanish Royal 
Family, and Dona Eulalia augmented their riches 
by a large sum of money ; but it seemed as if 
fate wished to warn the Infanta that the mar- 
riage would not be happy, for it was postponed 


Court Life in Spain under Alfonso XIL 

through the illness and death of her brother, and 
she was weeping as she came out of the royal 
chapel on her wedding-day. And, indeed, it was 
not long before the Infanta found her husband 
was utterly unworthy of her, and she now lives 
apart from him. 

The Infanta Eulalia was a great loss to the Court 
of Spain, where her bright intelligence and charm- 
ing ways had made her presence like sunshine. 
She was twenty-two years of age when she married, 
very pretty and high-spirited, an expert in riding 
and driving, and a lover of all kinds of activity. 

Her father, Don Francisco, and the Duke of 
Montpensier who, we know, killed Don Enrique, 
her uncle, in a duel supported her at the altar; 
and Queen Isabella, the Comtesse de Paris, the 
Queen-Regent and her little daughters, were also 
at the ceremony. 

This Infanta is often seen at the Court of Spain, 
with her son Alfonso. It was she who warned 
Alfonso XIII. , when he presented his new-born 
son to the assembled Ministers, that the infant 
might catch cold if exposed too long ; and at the 
royal baptism on June 2, 1907, she looked striking 
in her long train of scarlet velvet, with the satin 
front sewn with jewels, and with scarlet plumes 
surmounting her tiara of diamonds. 

Even those who had not been in favour of 
Alfonso were rapidly gained over to the Bourbons 
when they saw the difficult position of the Queen- 
Regent. All the chivalry of the Spaniards was 
aroused to support the young widowed mother in 
her trying task. 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

When a lady of the Court condoled one day 
with the royal widow, and expressed wonder that 
she could so valiantly seek to steer the ship of 
State whilst suffering the pain of loss, and not 
knowing how fate would settle the question of 
the future Sovereign of Spain, Maria Cristina 
looked up at the speaker, and said with a smile 
in which courage seemed to conquer sorrow : 

' But, Duchess, everything is easy when one 
has hope." 

The character of Alfonso XII. is sympathetically 
drawn by Don Jose Fernandez Bremon. He 
says : 

' He was affable and extremely simple in his 
manner, and opposed to strict etiquette and 
Court ceremonies ; much given to riding, hunting, 
shooting, and all physical exercises. His favourite 
study was that of the relation of science with 
war. He was an adept of poetry, and he much 
liked public applause. His facility in speaking 
and his flow of language inspired confidence in 
his auditors and in those whom he received in 
audience. His affability gave people more the 
idea that they were speaking with the emigrant 
from Vienna than the King of Spain. He was 
short, but well-proportioned and slender. His 
eyes were expressive, and he was what the 
Spaniards call very simpatico. He liked starting 
discussions on daring theories. He was very 
prudent in the Council Chamber. He was clever, 
and he sometimes spoke as if he felt himself 
taken captive in the gilded cave of government." 




1894 1902 

THE country was certainly in a very unsettled 
condition at the commencement of the Regency, 
and the difficulties of administration were in- 
creased by the insurrections in Cuba and the 
Philippines, which were unquestionably due to 
the corruption of the Government of the mother- 

The recently published " History of the Re- 
gency/' by Senor Juan Ortega Rubio, which I 
had the privilege of studying in the library of 
the royal palace at Madrid, throws much light 
on the state of affairs at this period ; for the 
author ably sets forth in the prologue the political 
condition of the country during the Regency. 

" There were certainly plenty of vehement 
politicians and eloquent orators/' says the writer, 
" but we can scarcely cite one true statesman. 
Favouritism was never more dominant and prev- 
alent than it was at this time. And favourites 
whose advancement was due to adulation and 
daring, if not to insolence, gave no support to 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

industrious men, and much less so to those who 
were firm and energetic. 

' The army, professorate, Church, and, indeed, 
all the professions, were regarded as schools of 
politics, and were in the greatest state of de- 

" No respect could be accorded to flattering 
courtiers or to an ignorant people. If the beauti- 
ful sun of religious tolerance shone upon the 
whole of Europe, Spain would be the one country 
condemned to dwell in the shades of fanaticism. 

" It is necessary to raise the moral sense of the 
Spanish people. If this be necessary . in all 
moments of history, it is more than ever indis- 
pensable now that despair is taking possession of 
all hearts, doubt of all spirits, egoism of all con- 
sciences, and positivism of all men. 

" From the sixteenth century Spain has been^ 
gradually going down. We do not lose hope, 
but we think, like the Roman Plato, that the 
sun of education will gradually pierce the clouds 
of ignorance, slavery, doubt, and sophistry, and 
the dawn of justice, order, and faith, will break 
over our land." 

Thirty prelates came to condole with the Queen 
on the death of the King, and the Church always 
made a great claim on the attention of the Queen- 
Regent in consideration of her former position in 
the religious house in Austria. 

It was said that, if the Pope left his magnificent 
home at the Vatican, he would come and take up 
his abode in Spain ; but, as the Figaro said : 

" The Government of the Queen-Regent will 


The Regency of Queen Maria Cristina 

thus put itself completely under the power of 
Leo XIII. , who will be treated like a Sovereign ; 
ind he will, they say, be given the Palace of 
.\ranjuez for his residence." 

When the Queen-Regent asked Canovas whom 
>he ought to appoint President of the Ministry, 
le promptly said, "Sagasta"; but the Congress 
vas a fictitious Congress, for, as Martin Hume 
>ays when referring to the Parliament in the 
earlier part of the century : 

" There was not then, and never has been 
since, any sincerity or reality in the pretended 
antagonism of the political parties." 

The lack of sincerity in the political opinions, 
even of those devoted to the monarchy, is shown 
)y Rubio in the speech of Martinez Campos to 
}ilvela ; for he said : 

" I am neither a Liberal nor a Conservative. I 
nade myself a Liberal because I thought the 
King wanted the Liberals to come in, and now I 
im a Conservative because the Queen wanted to 
;jive the power to the Conservatives." 

The politicians in the camarillas at the palace 
always brought forward the phantom of Carlism 
to scare the Sovereigns from fulfilling their desire 
of promoting true Parliamentary elections, and 
true patriots sought to show King Alfonso XII., 
Queen Maria Cristina, and, later, Alfonso XIII. , 
that those who tried to prevent the country from 
enjoying this constitutional privilege of going to 
the polls were only anxious to preserve their own 
patronage in the nomination of the deputies, and 
that the monarchy would be adored by the nation 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

if it favoured the reform which had been promised 
in the days of Ferdinand VII. 

The Queen-Regent Maria Cristina was told that 
the public offices were in the hands of patrons, 
and it was well known that a recorder in the law 
courts of Barcelona was blind, but he owed his 
place to being the brother of the cacique (or 
influential person) who supported Canovas in Cata- 
lonia ; and there was also a magistrate in Madrid 
who could not see, but he, too, had his patron. 

The Queen lent a willing ear to the plea of the 
Chamberlain for reform in these matters, and an 
inquiry was instituted about the blind recorder at 
Barcelona. But so powerful is patronage that, 
although the recorder had been seen to have his 
hand guided to sign the necessary documents, it 
was declared that he was not blind; and the 
informer of the abuse nearly lost his life at the 
hand of a relative of the man in power who had 
allowed such a state of things, for he was struck 
by a sabre at the back of the head, and prostrated 
senseless to the ground. 

Naturally, the wounded man wished to call out 
his assailant for such an insult, but the Queen- 
Regent, who sent daily for news of the injured 
man, begged him, as a favour to herself, to abstain 
from further steps. 

To this request the officer was obliged to accede, 
on the condition, which was confirmed, that the 
assailant should formulate a full apology for his 
deed, and this was done. 

It is difficult for foreigners to realize the power 
of the cacique in Spain. He is always the most: 


The Regency of Queen Maria Cristina 

influential person in the district, and the ap- 
pointment of Judges, Alcalde (Mayor), Governor, 
and deputy, are all in his hands. The man he 
suggests as representative of the district in the 
Congress is sure to be elected, and when the 
Ministers wish a certain person to have a place in 
Parliament, the name has only to be sent to the 
cacique who supports that Minister. 

Caciquism cripples Spain, and the collection of 
magnificent speeches and articles published in a 
large work under the title of " Oligarchy and 
Caciquism " shows that every man of importance 
in Spain can give his testimony against the evil 
which crushes the country ; but, eloquent as they 
are on the matter, the Ministers do not take a step 
to do away with a system which advances their 
own ends. 

So, as Martin Hume says, " No attempt is made, 
, indeed, can be made under present circum- 
inces, to trample out the evil that is sapping 
ain's vigour empleomania ; no bold politician 
res to look facts in the face and speak the whole 
truth. And so the evil circle is complete ; dis- 
honest Governments are faced in sham battle by 
I dishonest oppositions, and Parliamentary institu- 
tions, instead of being a public check upon abuses, 
are simply a mask behind which a large number of 
politicians may carry on their nefarious trade with 

And when it is remembered that, according to 
ie law of Spain, it is the King alone who has the 
ight of appointing a Ministry, it is he who has 
|to bear the onus of what goes wrong. 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

An amusing story is told of a Sen or Comas, 
who was a cacique of Sagasta's. The gentleman 
had been bidden to an audience of Her Majesty at 
half-past six. He arrived at the palace punctually, 
as he had promised to return to dinner with his 
grandchildren. Some hours elapsed in the ante- 
chamber ; diplomats came and went, and many 
others who, according to the strict Court etiquette, 
were to take precedence of the politician. 

At last he became impatient, and the thought 
of his grandchildren waiting so long for his return 
overcame all politeness ; he took up his coat, put it 
on, and, to the astonishment of the Court officials, 
he prepared to depart. 

" You are going, sir ?" said the lackey at the 

" Certainly/' was the reply ; "it is dinner-time, 
and my grandchildren are waiting for me." 

" But what shall we say to the grandee ?" said 
the servant, raising his hands to heaven, and 
referring to the grandee in attendance on the King. 

"Tell 'the great one' (el grande)" returned] 
Comas, " that ' the little one ' has gone off." 

And so he did. 

The remark was repeated at Court, and th< 
following day the Queen-Regent received thej 
cacique with demonstrations of respect. 

Queen Maria Cristina always encouraged thosel 
who really wished to counsel her for the welfare of) 
Spain. When, therefore, somebody was loyal am 
disinterested enough to present a programme t< 
Her Majesty which would do away with th< 
abuses of the Government by introducing a tru< 


The Regency of Queen Maria Cristina 

Parliamentary representation, she pressed the 
paper to her bosom, crying : " Yes, yes, it is true, 
it is true, and I will do it !" 

But politicians would not support a course which 
limited their exclusivism, and so things went on 
in the same fatal way. 

To the surprise of the Court, Castelar, the great 
republican leader, made at this time a great speech 
in which he showed that the advanced opinions 
of his partisans were not incompatible with mon- 
archy, for he said : 

" When our fanaticism made us think that 
monarchy was incompatible with public liberty, 
we did not understand the monarchical principles 
of England, Sweden, or Norway. But now I can 
Itell you that a monarchy should be a Liberal 

And the orator went on to say that a Liberal 
monarchy is a democratic monarchy in so far as 
:he universal suffrage became an accomplished 
[act, for a democratic monarchy is the formula of 
;his generation. 

Of course this speech, which certainly showed 
;hat the leader of republicanism had considerably 
nodified his views, called forth much remark, and 
jossip in the press even went so far as to associate 
ie name of a " charming royal widow " with that 
>f the great orator. 

But Sagasta set the matter right by saying, in 
me of his speeches, that " those who spread such 
reports were strangely ignorant of the temple of 
ie soul of the august lady, and that no credence 
r as to be given to the stories." 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

More sincere than the monarchists, Castelar 
made a strong protest against the mode of Parlia- 
mentary elections, for he said: " The census is a 
lie, votes do not exist, and scrutineers destroy 
what there are." 

This statement of facts could not be refuted, 
and the Central Union gave voice to the opinion 
that " municipal elections, like all others, should 
be the result of universal opinion, and that the 
indirect intervention of the Ministers was deserv- 
ing of censure." 

Such expressions of opinion show that there was 
a deeply rooted feeling of the falsity of the Spanish 
Parliamentary system, but it required politicians 
to be patriots to reform them. 

The corruptions in the Spanish colonies were, 
indeed, a standing proof of the evil wrought by the 
Parliamentary system of patronage, as it intro- 
duced people to places of importance in the 
colonies who were utterly unfit for them. The 
Marquis of Salamanca made a vehement protest 
against these abuses in the colonies, which were 
estranging them from the mother-country ; and 
Maura, as Minister of Foreign Affairs, made one 
of his first marks as an orator by setting forth 
before the Congress the evils of the dishonest 
actions of those whose advance had been due to 
their patrons instead of their patriotism. 

Canovas declared in the Congress that " he was 
very anxious that the Great Antilles should elect 
its own representatives, so that its voice could be 
heard in the national Congress " ; but, unfortu- 
nately, the statesman did nothing to promote such 


The Regency of Queen Maria Cristina 

an advisable course, and the leaders of the 
political groups held to the power which they 
gained from the patronage of the colonial posts. 

Canovas, who now called himself the " Liberal- 
Conservative/' in his fear that his Liberal rival 
should gain more partisans than himself, went on 
to say that " the Government recognizes the 
necessity of introducing great reforms in the 
administrative and financial affairs of the island 
of Cuba, for the political posts ought to be filled 
by the sons of the colony"; and he ended by 
saying : " When the triumph of our arms is an 
accomplished fact, and when the rebellion is sup- 
pressed, these reforms will be realized in a wide 
and generous spirit." 

But unfortunately the triumph of the Spanish 
arms could not be accomplished, for they were led 
against insuperable difficulties, and it was an in- 
justice of the mother- country to expect that her 
forces could prove victorious against the forces of 
a continent like that of America. 

It required a strong hand to save the Spanish 
Court from the overbearing of one whose father 
had adopted revolutionary ideas. 

It was the Duke of Seville, the eldest son of the 
late Don Enrique, who, when in command of the 
Guard at the palace, entered the antechamber 
of Maria Cristina' s apartments one day, and de- 
manded an interview. The Gentleman-in- Waiting 
said that Her Majesty had just returned tired from 
a walk, and had given orders that she could not 
receive anybody. But the Duke insisted, uttering 
disrespectful remarks as to what he could do if 

289 T 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

he were driven to desperation. These words 
were repeated to the Captain-General, who com- 
manded the division to which the Duke of Seville 
belonged, and he was summoned before a court- 

The Minister of War made a speech, in which he 
said : ' When the whole nation vies in showing 
respect and sympathy to a lady who claims pro- 
tection in her dignity and her misfortunes as a 
widow, it is deplorable when a person of the family 
of the Bourbons shows such disrespect, which has 
such a bad effect on all, and which can only 
be explained as a momentary aberration of 


The trial led to the Duke of Seville being con- 
demned to eight years of imprisonment. 

The Queen- Regent was always far more con- 
cerned about matters of the State than about 
those of her own comfort, and the Court was 
certainly wanting in good service at this time, and 
Her Majesty caught a severe chill one cold day, 
because the fur cloak she had asked for was not 
forthcoming, when she had to go out in an open 
carriage to attend an important function. 

And it can be said with truth that the luxuries 
of a Court did not include the necessary one of 
having fresh eggs for breakfast. A Chamberlain 
having noted the sweet patience with which the 
Queen bore the daily vexation of finding the eggs 
musty, finally ventured to present her with a little 
egg-boiler and some fresh eggs. The gifts were 
accepted with the Queen's usual grace, and with the 
assurance that she would now be able to enjoy 


The Regency of Queen Maria Cristina 

an egg in her own apartment, like one of her 

In the evening Maria Cristina played dominoes, 
listened to music, or conversed with the greatest 
affability with those present, whilst trying to 
forget for a time the cares of the State. 

It was now that Catalonia began to show signs of 
insisting on a true suffrage, and Ferretti saw that 
it would be much better for the monarchy to 
satisfy this natural desire for a voice at the polls 
than for it to be enforced, as it subsequently was, 
to the misrepresentation of the Region in Madrid. 
So the Colonel wrote to press the matter on the 
consideration of Sefior Canovas de Castillo. But 
the Prime Minister's insight was not willing to read 
the signs of the times, for he wrote the following 
letter, which I translate from the original : 

" February 4, 1887. 

I" To Colonel Senor Don Luis de Figuerola 
" In reply to your letter of the ist instant, 
ating that I gladly note the regionalist tendencies 
of Catalonia are fortunately unauthorized by 
sensible people, and it seems that the effervescence 
of the first moments is passing off, I think it best 
not to publish anything that has reference to the 

" However, I thank you very much for your 
efforts in the cause of order, and I beg to remain, 
" Yours very sincerely, 


291 T 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Thus the statesman wilfully shut his eyes to the 
importance of the movement, which they vainly 
hoped was a mere passing feeling. 

But, sure in his presage of the signs of the times, 
Ferretti strove to show the Queen-Regent that 
the politicians turned a deaf ear to the will of the 
Catalonians, because they wished to keep the 
patronage of the seats of the deputies in their own 
hands ; for if deputies were elected at the polls 
there would be an end of patronage, and people 
fitted for the representation of the respective 
centres would be elected by the constituents them- 

Moreover, the dreadful abuses in the colonies 
from this same source of patronage made the 
Cubans raise their voices high on the matter. 
Martinez Campos had seen things as they were in 
Cuba in 1878, and he found that Spain could only 
put an end to the Cuban War by promising the 
Cubans the autonomy for which they craved. 
But when the General returned to Spain he was 
unable to keep the promise made in the name of 
his Government, as the Parliament did not wish 
to abandon the fruitful field of patronage. 

It was some time before Martinez Campos 
received any reward for his loyalty in proclaiming 
the restoration of Alfonso XII. in 1874. Poli- 
ticians told how Alfonso XII. refused any title as a 
sign of gratitude, and as time went on disappoint- 
ment was expressed at the seeming neglect of the 
officer. It was then that a Chamberlain at Court 
ventured to say to the Queen-Regent : " Your 
Majesty will have been told that Martinez Campos 



To face page 292 

The Regency of Queen Maria Cristina 

has refused a title for himself ; but may it be sug- 
gested that a title be offered to his sons ?" And 
thus Maria Cristina, who was always ready to 
render justice, conferred the title of the Duke of 
Leo d'Urgel on the eldest son, and that of the 
Marquis of Bastan on the second one. Moreover, 
after the death of the great soldier, the Queen- 
Regent made his widow a grandee of Spain. 

The enthusiasm shown in the spring of 1907, 
when a statue was unveiled to the memory of the 
ardent Monarchist, showed that neither the Royal 
Family nor the country had forgotten his services 
to the throne. 

The failure of the country to keep the promises 
of Martinez Campos to the colonies in 1878 was 
felt in 1897 ; but politicians in the palace still 
represented matters, and the Queen-Regent was 
under the impression that autonomy would mean 
Separatism. It was then that a Chamberlain 
showed Her Majesty a letter from a cousin in Cuba, 
the mother of more than one leader of the insur- 
rection, for in this letter the mother said that she 
would willingly sacrifice her sons for the autonomy 
which would save the island from ruin, through 
the abuses and corruptions of the Government at 
home. And with the grant of the autonomy 
America would have no further excuse to interfere 
in the matter. 

With a true Parliamentary representation in 
Spain, such an important State matter could not 
have been left in the hands of a man like Sagasta, 
who, like other politicians, used the intrigues of 
the palace for a perversion of the truth. The 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

deputies, if they had been real patriots instead of 
being merely the tools of those in power, would 
have risen as one man against the refusal of the 
autonomy ; the good sense of the Queen-Regent 
would have been satisfied, and the prestige of 
Spain and her colonies would have been saved. 
And to those who think this statement exag- 
gerated, I must say that as Maura, the present 
Prime Minister, permitted me to address him some 
questions on the policy of Spain, I asked the great 
statesman if it were true that the abuses in the 
Governmental departments caused the loss of Cuba, 
and he replied emphatically in the affirmative. 
This confirmed the report in the country, for it is 
well known that, as Minister of Foreign Affairs at 
the time, Maura lifted up his voice in the Congress 
for the reform of the evils which threatened and 
finally caused the loss of the colonies. 

Moreover, Maura boldly took up his stand for 
the much-required suffrage for Spain, when he 
said in the Congress : 

" A country cannot maintain its loyalty to the 
Crown in the integrity of its national being, if it 
cannot count on the will and the hearts of the 
inhabitants/ ' 

When the country was filled with anxiety at the 
sudden serious illness of the little King, the stocks 
fell, the Carlists began to make themselves con- 
spicuous again, and evil threatened the land with 
the shadow overhanging the Court, and the 
anxious royal mother was constantly heard to cry : 

" Oh, child of my heart ! My God, do not take 
him from me !" 



To face page 294 

The Regency of Queen Maria Cristina 

But it was not in idle tears that the royal 
mother spent her time by the baby boy's bedside. 
Everything that the knowledge of hygiene and her 
love as a parent could suggest was brought into 
use, and finally Maria Cristina had the triumph 
both as a Queen and a mother to report the child 
out of danger. 

Cast el ar wrote to Sagasta at this time, saying : 

u I am very anxious for you to convey my 
respects to Her Majesty, and tell her that I have 
inquired after her august son, the King, twice 
every day ; and please do not forget to add how 
sincerely I congratulate her on his restoration to 

It was, indeed, quite due to the rare intelligence 
of the Queen- Regent and her knowledge of the 
laws of hygiene that little Alfonso XIII. was 
saved for Spain. 

It was by such proofs of her intelligence that 
Maria Cristina gradually asserted her just sway 
at Court. It had been a great struggle in the 
first years of her widowhood to gain this sway, 
for she was liable to be set aside as a stranger 
in a foreign country, of which the language was 
unknown to her, and she could not help knowing 
that derogatory remarks were made about her 
even by her royal relations. Her very name was 
against her, as Spaniards associated it with that 
of the mother of Isabel II., who was said to have 
exploited the land to her own ends. The Duke 
of Seville, Prince Henry of Bourbon, was heard 
to say, in the presence of the Royal Guard, in 
1886 : "Of course, the Regency cannot be en- 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

trusted to a foreign Princess/' But he found 
afterwards he was wrong in the estimate he had 
formed of the Austrian lady. 

Whilst Alfonso XII. had been alive, Maria 
Cristina did not feel she was merely a stranger 
in a foreign land, and she was often compared to 
a ray of sunshine, so bright and joyous was she 
at Court. For, always active, merry, and happy, 
her six years of married life had passed without 
heed of the cares of the State, so it was a sur- 
prise to the Spaniards to find that she was pos- 
sessed of such diplomatic power. 

Moreover, the Queen-Regent's intelligent care of 
her child during his illness was a practical lesson 
to those around her ; for, fond mothers as Spanish 
women are, the laws of hygiene play little part 
in their education. 

The little Prince, Alfonso XIII. , was indeed a 
charming child, and soon gave proofs of his 
affection for those about him, whilst being the 
despair of his governess, Sefiora Tacon, by the 
way he set the strict laws of Spanish Court 
etiquette at defiance. 

" Ah, Juanito ! bon petit Juan !" he would call 
out to the distinguished General Juan de Cordova, 
Marquis of Sotomayor ; and the Duke of Bivona 
he dubbed " Xiquena." Senora Tacon strove 
to prevent this familiar style of address by 
saying : 

" But, Sire, Your Majesty must recollect that 
the gentleman to whom you are speaking is the 
Duke of Bivona. " 

" The Duke of Bivona I" returned the little 


The Regency of Queen Maria Cristina 

King mockingly. " That's all very well, but I 
know it is Xiquena. Are you not Xiquena ?" he 
continued, addressing the grandee. Then, seeing 
a smile on the solemn countenance of the Duke, 
he continued : " You see, this lady is always 
giving different names to people. She says that 
my Juanito is General Juan de Cordova, Marquis 
of Sotomayor. Don't be silly !" he added, turn- 
ing to Sefiora Tacon. " That is my Xiquena, 
and the other is my Juanito so there !" 

The King's childish way of settling things 
developed as he grew into a lad into the power 
of forming logical conclusions which would have 
done credit to any statesman. 

A Chamberlain one day ventured to suggest to 
:he Queen-Regent that it would be good for the 
dngdom if a royal visit could be paid to Barce- 
ona ; for if the King did not go to Barcelona, it 
was not a question of Catalonia separating itself 
:rom the rest of Spain, but of the Court separating 
iself from Catalonia. The courtier's idea was 
epeated to the young King by his mother as he 
came into the room. 

' Yes, yes," returned Alfonso, with his prompt 
acceptance of a good suggestion. " If we do not 
go to Catalonia, it is just as if a prelate did not 
visit one part of his diocese, which would mean 
separation from that district." 

It was in 1898 that the terrible debacle of Cuba 
realized the worst fears of patriots. The Queen, 
who had been so badly advised in the Council by 
Sagasta, was overwhelmed with grief. The army 
and navy, and even the throne of Spain, were 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

loudly attacked, instead of the Government 
which had brought them the disaster. 

It was then that Figuerola Ferretti had the 
clever idea of having a great illustration placarded 
about the streets of Madrid, headed by a repre- 
sentation of Herder's picture of an angel carrying 
a wounded man, with the device " Gloria Victis." 
For glory was due to the men who had suffered 
nobly and hopelessly in the struggle to which 
politicians had provoked the colonies by their 
maladministration ; and leaflets, setting forth 
the same idea, were distributed broadcast by 
thousands in the streets of Madrid. 

This daring protest for the prestige of the 
Spanish army and navy doubtless stemmed the 
tide of public opinion, and the Queen- Regent 
congratulated the chamberlain on his loyal course. 

Castelar, in an article he published in La 
Nouvelle Revue , put all the blame of Spain's 
misfortunes on Maria Cristina, even going so 
far as to compare her with Marie Antoinette, who 
was so fatal to France. But one must recollect 
that, as Rubio says, Castelar said in the Congress : 

' I am an historical republican, an invincible 
republican, a republican all my life by convic- 
tion and by conscience, and he who doubts my 
republicanism offends and calumniates me, and 
for this reason I do not wish to be anybody in 
any monarchy/ 3 

But General Blanco declares, with greater 
justice, that the blame of the Cuban disaster 
should rest on the shoulders of Sagasta ; and 
El Liberal of that date says : 


The Regency of Queen Maria Cristina 

" Sefior Sagasta is the one, and the only one, 
responsible for the terrible misfortunes which 
assail our country. 

: It was he who advised the Queen- Regent to 
persist in the course which led Cuba to seek the 
intervention of America ; and when the royal lady 
seemed ready to listen to the wisdom of patriots 
who pleaded for the autonomy of the colony, he 
would present himself at Court, and there once 
more persuade the Sovereign to his false view of 
the matter." 

As Rubio says in his ble " History of the 
Regency ": 

: When Sagasta, ^ Romero Robledo, Silvela, and 
Gamazo spoke in the House on this burning 
question, their speeches seemed more like essays 
in polemics in an athenaeum than discussions in 
an assembly of legislators on a matter entailing 
the salvation or the ruin of the country." 

To those who preferred to be true patriots to 
flattering courtiers the state of affairs was des- 
perate, for they felt indignant at the Queen- 
Regent being persuaded to a course for which, as 
Sovereign, she would have to bear the chief share 
of the blame ; and Ferretti, who years before had 
served under General Blanco at Saint Domingo, 
and had keenly felt the loss of prestige to the 
Spanish army when he had to obey orders and 
lead the last company from the island, fought 
hard to prevent a similar disaster in Cuba in 

In August, 1897, a shudder ran through Spain 
when Canovas fell by the hand of an Italian 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

anarchist, and the fact was still more shocking 
as the republican Nakens had been told by the 
perpetrator that the deed would take place, and 
he did nothing to warn the statesman. 

For ten years Canovas had been the foremost 
figure in the Congress and the Court of Spain. 
The prominent part he had taken in the restora- 
tion had placed what we should call the " straw- 
berry-leaves " on the brow of his wife ; and when, 
after the tragedy of Santa Aguedas, the widow 
followed her husband's corpse into their palace 
in the Castellane, it was to retire definitely from 
the banquets, reunions, and great functions in 
which she had always shone so successfully and 
conspicuously as the wife of the Prime Minister 
of Spain. 

After the death of Canovas, Silvela came for- 
ward as the leader of the Conservatives, for the 
camarillas and intrigues of the followers of 
Canovas had hitherto barred his way to high 
preferment in the Parliament. 

It was known that the Queen-Regent was in- 
clined to patronize General Polavieja, and there 
were also Villaverde, Romero Robledo, and numer- 
ous other politicians who all had their partisans, 
and sought by camarillas in the palace to gain 
power for their partisans. 

The Queen-Regent often used her ,charm as a 
woman to captivate those opposed to the mon- 
archy, and this power, exercised with all the 
rigidity of a lady of strict morality, had its due 
effect on General Cazola. It was well known that 
this officer enjoyed great prestige in the army, 



The Regency of Queen Maria Cristina 

and as he was republican in his opinions, he could 
have become a sort of Oliver Cromwell in Spain. 
He was the only man Canovas stood in fear of, 
and Sagasta did not breathe freely till death 
removed him from his path. 

Maria Cristina was quite aware that he ad- 
mired her, and when she heard that the General 
had given voice to one of his speeches, which 
might prove fatal to the loyalty of the army, she 
sent for the officer, and with all the charm of her 
manner she let him see that she was conscious of 
the power he could exercise against the dynasty 
if he wished. Touched with the evident anxiety 
of the Queen, all the chivalry of the gallant 
General was called into play, and, putting his 
hand on his heart, he soothed the fear of the 
Sovereign by saying : " Do not be afraid. Your 
Majesty is sacred in my eyes." 

Such conquests were a satisfaction to Maria 
Cristina, both as Queen and woman; and when 
one noted the great personal influence of the 
widowed lady, one could only wish she had given 
herself more scope for its exercise, and had 
not submitted herself so freely to priestly 

Some dissatisfaction was caused among the 
Liberals by the Queen's appointment of a Bishop 
especially for the palace, where the Prelate of 
Madrid had officiated formally. As he had no 
diocese, the Pope gave him the title of Bishop of 
Alcala and Zion, and this appointment meant the 
institution of forty Canons at the Court. The 
duties of these Canons was specified as that of 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

drawing the curtains in the royal boxes of the 
chapel, but now there are no curtains to draw. 

It was whispered by the partisans of Silvela 
that Polavieja was favoured by the clergy, and 
with him in power the Queen-Regent and the 
country would be given over to the clerical party. 
Canovas had allowed the lady in power to be 
called the " priestess/' and Sagasta had repeated 
to the Queen-Regent reports which were cir- 
culated as to Senora Canovas boasting of having 
more power than the Queen herself. 

Finally, after the death of Canovas, and a 
short term of power of General Azcarraga, Silvela 
was put at the helm of affairs. But the camarillas 
at Court again led to the fall of the Ministry, for 
Silvela' s choice of Lofio as Minister of War was 
opposed by the choice of Polavieja by the 

Thus, when Figuerola Ferretti saw that the 
impending death of Sagasta would lead to the 
Liberal party being cut up into as many groups 
as that of the Conservatives, so that the country 
would on both sides be a prey to the intrigues at 
Court of the partisans of the respective groups, 
he ventured, in view of the very superior intelli- 
gence manifested by the young King, after he 
had attained his majority, to represent to His 
Majesty that true Parliamentary elections were 
the only means of solving the problem of govern- 
ment, and for this he could exercise his royal 
prerogative of forming a Provisional Government. 
The King seemed to listen to this proposal with 
approval, and, indeed, if this election of the 


The Regency of Queen Maria Cristina 

deputies by public vote had been promoted in 
the capital, it could never have been used by 
republicans as a cloak for Separatism. 

The petition for this step was drawn up in the 
names of the widows and orphans of those who 
had fallen in the Cuban War. It was sent in 
proof to the secretaries of the King and the Queen- 
Regent. But the patriot had not counted on the 
antagonism of those in power ; and albeit Loy- 
gorry, the follower of Lopez Dominguez, spoke 
eloquently in favour of the idea in the Senate, 
Moret, the Minister of the Interior, stopped its 
course by forbidding the Prefecture of the Police 
to affix the necessary seal to the document ; and 
it was doubtless through such political influence 
in the palace that the Chamberlain found that 
further influence with the King was prevented by 
his removal from Court. 

The cordial reception of the Colonel by 
Alfonso XIII., when he saw him in London in 
1905, was cheering to the patriot, and it seems 
more than probable that the King is unaware of 
the Court intrigue by which his valued adviser 
was removed from his side. 

It was in 1905 only a fortnight before his 
death that I had the privilege of seeing Don 
Francisco Silvela, who had spent so much time 
and effort in the service of his country. 

!( I am utterly weary of politics," said the 
statesman, lifting his tired eyes to my face. " It 
is a fruitless task, and no one is safe from the 
intrigues at Court. No, no ; I am going to give 
up my spare time to literature now, which will 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

be far more profitable. And, indeed, it seems 
like pouring water into a tank with a hole in it 
to expend efforts on the country which is un- 
supported by a true suffrage." 

It is thus that Alfonso, in 1906, had to appoint 
seven different Governments in the space of 
fourteen months, and it would sometimes require 
more than supernatural power to detect the rea 
cause of the fall of a Cabinet in Spain. 




MAY 17, 1886, the day on which Spain hailed the 
birth of their baby Sovereign, Alfonso XIII., is 
always kept as a fete-day in Spain. Shortly after 
Senor Sagasta had proclaimed the news to the 
assembly of Ministers and grandees of the realm, 
the Duchess of Medina de las Torres appeared in 
the antechamber, bearing in her arms a basket 
that contained the royal infant. Wrapped in 
cotton-wool, the infant King received the homage 
of his Ministers. 

Five days later Madrid was en fete for the 
baptism of the royal child. Wearing a robe of 
the richest English lace, and the broad velvet 
| sash, embroidered with fleurs-de-lis, that his father 
had worn at his baptism, the royal infant was 
borne on a silver salver, draped with costly 
[coverings, through the lines of officers, states- 
ien, and Court ladies, into the chapel of the 
>alace, where at a solemn service he received the 
imes of Alfonso Leon Fernando Maria Santiago 
jlsidro Pascual Antony. 

The second birthday of the baby King was 
>lebrated by a review in the Prado. The Queen 
r as on horseback, dressed in black, without any 

305 u 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

ornaments. The Minister of War was on her left 
hand, and the Duchess of Medina behind her. 
Her horse was startled by the quantity of flowers 
thrown before the royal rider, but, being an 
excellent horsewoman, the Queen controlled the 
animal, and no mischance happened. 

Aided by the Duchess of Medina de las Torres, 
the Senora Tacon, and an excellent nurse, Queen 
Cristina devoted herself entirely to the care of 
her child. His rooms were in close proximity to 
her own private apartments, and " Puby " (a 
German pet-name), as she called him, learned 
from an infant to look for the loving good-night 
visit of his mother, who, seating herself at the 
head of the blue silk curtained cot, would hush 
her boy to sleep. Her soothing caresses grew, 
as time passed on, to be tender counsel to the 

Unwilling to sacrifice his physical health to his 
mental progress, the Queen waited till her son 
was seven years old before planning for him a 
course of serious study. With an hour's steady 
instruction daily, the young monarch soon learnt 
to read and write with ease. It is interesting to 
know that he was never allowed to use a word 
without being thoroughly acquainted with its 
meaning. By this means he acquired an intelli- 
gent interest in things about him. 

It was at the seaside resort of San Sebastian, 
in the beautiful palace of Miramar, that the royal 
child's second course of instruction commenced. 
Don Regino Zaragoza was his tutor for geography 
and history. About this time also he began rapidly 



To face page 306 

Alfonso XIIL 

to gain ground in French and Latin. But the quick 
intelligence of the lad did not impair the mis- 
chievousness natural to his age. I was told by 
the King's Chamberlain that once, when he was 
about eight years old, streams of water were seen 
running down the corridor from the bath-room 
of the royal palace. The door of the apartment 
was found to be locked, and it was only when the 
Queen herself insisted on its being opened that the 
young delinquent was discovered enjoying what 
he called " a naval battle in high seas/' the ships 
being logs abstracted from the wood baskets, and 
the high seas the overflowing bath. 

The same courtier told me that once, when 
staying at the Casa de Campo (the country place 
near Madrid), the boy escaped from his governors 
to climb up on to the roof of a building, which he 
had remarked as the resort of some roosters. 

It must be remembered that the young King's 
courses of instruction were always those of the 
Universities and institutes of the kingdom. He 
usually wore the uniform of a cadet of the Military 
Academy, except when, on a visit to a man-of- 
war, he adopted the naval dress. That his tutors 
found him a docile pupil can be gathered from 
the following anecdote : When one day a professor 
stood waiting for his royal pupil to be seated, he 
laughingly shook his head, saying : " No ; you are 
the master, and I am the pupil. It is for you to 
be seated first." 

Queen Cristina overcame her son's difficulty 
with German by composing a small grammar for 
him, which enabled him to master the rules of 

307 U 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

the language in a simple and amusing form. His 
inquiring turn of mind and his desire to thoroughly 
understand many subjects were early made 
apparent by his leaning towards natural science, 
chemistry, etc. 

The King's love for all that is military dates 
from his earliest childhood, when his great delight 
was to watch the change of the royal palace 
Guard from his nursery window. His boy regi- 
ment is now almost historical. Many of its 
members still talk of their delight at its promotion 
to the dignity of a Mauser gun of a most profes- 
sional calibre. Their young Captain's power of 
resource and command was evidenced in the way 
he carried the day in a wager made with his child 
soldiers that they should not on the morrow meet 
the admiring eyes of their parents at that part 
of the royal palace where the Foreign Office then 
had its bureaux. The following day the young 
battalion approached the palace. The little 
subalterns, about to glance at the windows, 
thought they had won the bet, when lo ! in clear 
sharp young tones there rang out the command : 
"Vista a la derecha !" (Look to the right!). 
Not an eye was turned towards the palace win- 
dows, and the royal commander scored. 

Early rising has, of course, been always an 
essential part of the young King's programme, 
or he would not have time for such pursuits as 
photography (developing his own plates, and in 
this he excels), swimming, bicycling, music, paint- 
ing, etc., as well as his graver studies. 

During his minority Alfonso XIII. rose at 


Alfonso XIIL 

7 o'clock, and, after a cold bath and some exer- 
cise in the gymnasium near his bedroom, he had 
a light breakfast with his mother and sisters. 
From 9 to 10 o'clock came a lesson in French from 
Don Luis Alberto Gay an, or in English from Don 
Alfonso Merry de Val. At 10 o'clock he went 
for a ride on horseback until 12 o'clock, when he 
lunched with the Queen and the Infanta. Then, 
after a lesson in German or music from Senorita 
Paula Czerny, or in painting from Don Jose 
Pulgar, the King again walked or rode, generally 
in the company of his mother. At 2 o'clock he 
had military instruction, and between 3 and 4 
o'clock a lesson in universal history, or in fencing 
with other boys, under Don Pedro Carbonell. 
From 5.30 to 6.30 came a lesson in political law 
and administration, and once a week a lesson in 
general Spanish literature and classics. Dinner 
was at 7.30, and the remainder of the evening 
would be passed pleasantly in conversation or in 
playing duets with his sister Maria Teresa until 
it was time to retire to rest. 

This programme was punctually adhered to, 
under the direction of Don Aguirre de Lejada, 
the director of His Majesty's studies, and except- 
ing when the King went to church on a Saturday 
afternoon at 5 o'clock with his mother and sister, 
it was rarely relaxed. 

It was the royal youth's natural simplicity, 
combined with his splendid education, that saved 
him from embarrassing self- consciousness on the 
great occasion, when on May 17, 1906, he took 
the Constitutional oath (the Jura), which gave 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

him the full rights of a King, in the Houses of 
Parliament (Palacio del Congreso), before the 
brilliant assembly of Princes, Ambassadors, and 
Ministers assembled for the occasion. The words 
were simple, but impressive : 

" I swear before God upon the Holy Gospels 
to maintain the Constitution and the laws. If 
I do so, God will reward me, and if not, He 
will require it of me/ 7 

All present were touched at the young monarch's 
evident disinclination to take precedence of his 
mother when leaving the Palacio del Congreso. 
But the law of etiquette had to be observed : the 
Regency was over, the reign had commenced; 
the Queen's power had ceased, the King's sway 
had commenced, and, as the first person in the 
realm, he had to precede his mother. 

But that very day the King issued a decree to 
the nation by which the royal mother retained 
all the privileges of the position she had held as 
Regent, which permits no one but the possible 
future wife of the King to take precedence of 
her. This, the first royal proclamation, shows 
the devotion of the son to the mother, for as 
Queen Cristina is out of the line of possible 
inheritance to the crown, she would otherwise 
have taken lower rank than her sisters-in-law or 
her daughters. 

As the young Sovereign, after the solemn cere- 
mony in the cathedral, took his place under the 
white satin canopy, and passed down the aisle, 
filled with the highest representatives of Church 
and State, the sun, streaming in Spanish intensity 



To face page 310 

Alfonso XIIL 

trough the heavily carved oaken door of the 
cathedral, fell upon his face. He looked like 
some youthful knight of olden days. With his 
dark head held high and a look of resolution on 
his features that seemed to bode well for his 
office, he passed out of the cathedral into the 
sunshine and air, thrilling with the applause of 
his people. 

The close association of the King of Spain with 
the Ministry gives play to intrigues at the palace, 
which cause dissatisfaction in the country, and 
the King alone has the responsibility for the 

It was towards the end of 1906 when General 
Lopez Dominguez, the fifth Prime Minister in less 
than a year, was the object of a palace intrigue 
which brought his work to an end, and excited 
much discontent in the country. The Cabinet had 
given a vote of confidence in the General, and the 
officer subsequently reported the matter to the 

But in the meanwhile the partisans of Moret had 
been intriguing at the palace, and the Prime 
Minister's assertion of the confidence shown him 
was met by a sceptical look from Alfonso, as he 
drew from his pocket a private letter from Moret, 
in which he threw doubt on the satisfactory state 
of Parliamentary affairs. The General, who had 
grown grey in the service of the King, stared 
blankly at the treacherous letter. 

" Then Your Majesty has not complete confi- 
dence in me ?" he asked, in astonishment. 

The King did not reply, so the Prime Minister 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

took the only possible course in the matter, and 
promptly offered his resignation. 

Thus, Moret had plotted for his return to power, 
and, indeed, he was asked by the King to take the 
helm of affairs. This he did ; but he was not pre- 
pared for the indignation of the Congress at the 
turn of affairs, and when he went to the Congress 
to make his opening speech, he was met by such 
storms of disapproval and with such silent con- 
tempt that he abandoned his post in three days. 

When Maura permitted me to address him some 
questions on his policy, I asked if he did not think 
a pure suffrage would be for the progress of the 

" Yes," he replied ; " but the intervention of the 
Government is only to supplement the inertia of 
the nation." 

But the Prime Minister did not seem to take 
into account the despair of the people at the use- 
lessness of their efforts. Sometimes there is a 
call to arms against this want of activity, 
but to such appeals the Spaniard shrugs his 

" What is the use of my going to the poll, when 
I know perfectly well that my vote will be either 
destroyed or burnt ?" 

" It is, then, the duty of the Government," 
writes a pioneer in the Press, " to take great pre- 
cautions for the protection of the polls, and even 
if necessary to guard them with a military force ; 
for it is in the verity of the elections of these repre- 
sentatives in Parliament that lies the secret of the 
recovery of the virility of Spain." 


Alfonso XIIL 

Catalonia, as we know, has recovered this virility 
by insisting on the return of her own deputies, 
and the enormous enthusiastic meeting held in a 
great hall of Barcelona on June 29, 1908, to hear 
the deputies* opinions on a great matter of legis- 
lation shows how deep is the public interest in 
matters of politics, and how much the constituents 
appreciate their hardly-won privilege of being 
represented in the Congress by men they trust. 





As the Spanish authoress Conception Gimeno de 
Flaquer devotes the last chapter of her book, 
" Mujeres de Regia Estirpe " (Women of Royal 
Degree), to Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain, 
it seems that I should fall short of the mark 
were I not to publish some of the Spanish im- 
pressions of the present English Queen at the 
Court of Spain. 

Senora Flaquer says : " The presence of the 
beautiful Princess at the royal palace is like a 
shining star on a dark night, a soft balmy breath 
of wind in a violent storm, a refreshing dew in 
hot weather, and a ray of hope in depression." 

This description is Spanish in its imagery, and 
it is interesting to note the more measured lan- 
guage in which Figuerola Ferretti expresses the 
joy of Spain at the news of the engagement : 

' The news is like a fresh spring of hope to us 
Spaniards, who regard any English girl as a symbol 
of sincerity and sweetness, and how much more 
so when that girl is grand-daughter of the great 


To face page 314 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 

Queen Victoria, whose name is venerated through- 
out the Peninsula ! 

' Whilst regarding the entry of Princess Ena 
into Spanish spheres as the commencement of a 
new era for the education and progress of our 
women, who are only waiting for the opportunity 
to prove their intellectual worth, I must say I 
might have some fears lest the Princess should 
be chilled by the restrictions of Spanish Court 
etiquette, had not King Alfonso already shown 
himself capable of breaking down the unnecessary 
barriers which would prevent his future bride con- 
tinuing the happy outdoor life and the social 
pleasures which brighten the existence of royal 
ladies in England. 

" ' Manners maketh man/ it is said, but it is 
also true that ' man maketh manners/ and when 
our monarch follows the natural and noble im- 
pulses of his heart, it is always to the making of 
a manner which expresses good feeling. 

' The young Spaniard has marked with great 
interest King Alfonso's foreign mode of courtship, 
which oversteps the lines of our customs ; and 
as he follows in the footsteps of the royal fiance, 
he will soon see that invigorating motor-car ex- 
cursions and walks in a garden with the queen of 
his heart are more conducive to mutual knowledge 
of character than perpetually thrumming on a 
guitar outside the lady's window, or only being 
permitted to whisper words of love in a corner of 
a room where the rest of the family is assembled. 

" To judge from ancient records, the arrival of 
the young Princess Eleanor of England in 1170 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

as the bride of Alfonso VIII. of Spain led to a 
reaction against the strictures of etiquette intro- 
duced by the Moors to the extreme limitations of 
the liberty of our ladies ; and it was by the natural 
assumption of a certain freedom of action that 
the daughter of young Henry II. passed a happy 
life of nearly half a century as Queen-Consort in 
our country. And Princess Ena is not likely to 
fall short of her English predecessor in her natural 
love of liberty. 

" Readers of Mariana* s ' History of Spain ' may 
be struck with the resemblance of the meeting of 
the young royal lovers on the borders of Spain 
in 1170 and that of the illustrious couple at 
Biarritz. The ardent young Alfonso VIII. was 
charmed with his English Eleanor, even as our 
Alfonso XIII. admired the Ena of your land ; and 
as Queen Eleanor associated herself with the pro- 
motion of learning and letters for men, and sup- 
ported the foundation of the University of Palencia, 
our future Queen Ena will doubtless encourage the 
present movement for the education of girls, which 
has just culminated in the opening of the Middle- 
Class College under the committee of ladies of the 
Ibero-American Society, presided over by Queen 
Maria Cristina." 

The joy foretold by the Spanish courtier was 
more than realized at the arrival of the English 
bride. Her bright, sunny smile and ready acknow- 
ledgment of the people's evident admiration of 
their future Queen delighted the people. 

But the tragedy of the bomb cast in the bouquet, 
which caused so much disaster, came like a sudden 



To face page 316 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 

frost, and nipped the spontaneous joy of the young 
Queen, and the drives and walks in the city of 
Madrid became a source of fear instead of joy. 
It is hard to us here in England to realize what 
the bomb outrage on her marriage-day was to 
Queen Victoria of Spain. 

Wearers of the Victoria Cross and the D.S.O. 
have not often gone through such a terrible ordeal. 
For soldiers on active service are at least prepared 
for such tragedies, but in the glitter and gaiety 
of a marriage-day the blow was dealt in the 

An officer in the Wad Ras Regiment, who was 
close to the carriage, told me that he can hardly 
bear to speak of it even now. The gaily- decora ted 
street was suddenly transformed into the fearful 
scene of a battle-field. The cries of the dying \ 
and the sight of the killed sent many people out 
of their minds. With the calm courage of a 
soldier's daughter, Queen Victoria neither swooned 
nor went into hysterics ; but the shock went deep 
into her soul, and she naturally fears a repetition 
of the horror when she is in the city. 

The people, therefore, are a little disappointed 
at their greetings not meeting with the quick 
response of the first days in her new land ; and as 
Spaniards would do anything for a smile, and love 
to see happiness, this inborn terror, begotten of 
the tragedy of her wedding-morn, would form a 
barrier between the English Queen and her people, 
were they not reminded of the source of the set 
expression on her face. 

In La Granja this is different. The freedom of 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

the country life gives scope again for our Princess's 
smiles, and the beautiful gardens and the charm 
of the palace seem far removed from the tragedy 
of the city. 

" Oh, how we adore her when she is like that !" 
said the simple-hearted, sympathetic Spaniards, 
as they saw the eager, guileless way the Queen 
showed her young cousin, Princess Beatrice of 
Coburg, her lovely country residence ; and after 
she had passed up the fine staircase of the palace, 
lined by the halberdiers sounding their drum 
tattoos of welcome, she appeared at one of the 
windows to smile on the soldiers as they saluted 
her in their parade past the palace. 

Bouquets are naturally, of course, still looked 
upon with suspicion at the Spanish Court. When 
Miss Janotha, the celebrated pianiste, wished to 
leave a beautiful bouquet at the palace as an 
offering to Princess Henry of Battenberg, when 
she was in Madrid, the lackey looked at it askance, 
saying : 

' We are not to take bouquets." 

Miss Janotha looked regretful, and I was very 
glad when a superior official stepped forward and 
said : 

' We do not take bouquets, but as it comes with 
the English lady we know here, it is all right." 

This confidence I acknowledged gratefully ; the 
Polish pianist was pleased, and the bouquet was 

" The Queen is always her bright, merry self on 
the yacht," said a distinguished naval officer, when 
speaking of the shock of the bomb to the young 


To face page 318 


Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 

Queen. " She sings, and is as happy as the day 
is long, for there is no fear of such tragedies on 
board ship/' 

One always connects Spain with sunshine, and 
Queen Victoria was interested at seeing the after- 
effects of a snow-storm in Madrid. Their Maj esties 
sallied forth in a motor-car to the park of the 
Retiro. The Queen expressed her admiration at 
the clever efforts in statuary made of the snow 
which had fallen in the morning. The newly- 
appointed Prime Minister, Maura, was easily 
distinguished as a snow-man, and many other 
celebrities were recognized in this exhibition of 
snow-figures made by the street gamins. Great 
lions in front of the War Office also showed the 
skill of the officials in turning the snow into form 
when clearing the pathways, and in the squares 
and streets there were many presentments, both 
male and female. 

The Infanta Maria Teresa was driving across 
the Puerta del Sol with her young husband during 
the inclement weather, when a mule of her carriage 
slipped on one of the tram-lines, which form a 
perfect network at this busy centre, and the car- 
riage came to a standstill. The Princess descended 
from the vehicle, and would have walked home 
had she not herself slipped on the treacherous 
footwalk. Fortunately, the etiquette which for- 
merly forbade a commoner to touch royalty even 
in a time of danger does not now prevail, and a 
policeman raised the Infanta from the ground, and 
placed her in a tram, in which the rest of the 
journey to the palace was made. 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 


It was one morning during this short season of 
snow in 1907 that a charming Spanish lady, Sefiora 
dona Carmen Burgos de Segui, called to ask if I 
would join her and two or three other members of 
the well-known Andalusian Centre in their visit to 
the palace to invite King Alfonso XIII. and Queen 
Victoria to a forthcoming fete to be held by the 
Centre ^.t a theatre. All the formalities with refer- 
ence to the audience had been arranged, and I was 
pleased to accept the invitation to join the com- 

As a fall of snow precluded the possibility of 
being able to obtain a carriage or cab for the 
cobbled stones of the roads make it unsafe for 
horses in slippery weather I put on my snow- 
shoes and fur cloak, and soon arrived with my 
companions at the royal palace, which flanks the 
whole side of the great Plaza de Oriente, and 
towers majestically above the richly- wooded valley 
of the River Manzanares. 

The white-cloaked sentries, in their three-cor- 
nered hats, saluted us respectfully as we passed, 
and the colonnaded, rich-carpeted staircase soon 
led us to the gallery which lines the quadrangle 
of the royal palace. 

A sympathetic porter helped me to remove my 
cloak and overshoes, and as I shook out my dress 
and donned my white gloves he said : 

" Her Majesty will be very pleased to see a 
compatriot, for since last June she has not seen 
an English lady." 



To face page 320 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 

The ring of the halberds on the floor of the 
gallery as the historic halberdiers changed guard, 
and the quick word of command, were the only 
sounds to break the solemn silence as darkness 
fell on the courtyard, where snow was falling 

A lackey in gold livery now issued from the 
royal apartments and met us in the gallery. He 
then conducted us to an imposing doorway leading 
to the landing of the state double-winged stair- 
case, which is only used on very important occa- 
sions. It was in this gallery that the young King 
and his sister, Maria Teresa, startled Queen Vic- 
toria, on her first Shrove Tuesday in Spain, by 
jumping out at her disguised with masks. 

The white marble lions, the blazing lights of the 
fine chandeliers, the rich carpets, the carved marble 
rails and handsome walls, looked like a scene in a 
fairy-tale as we saw it for the first time, and after 
passing several footmen and officials on the land- 
ing we reached an antechamber, where we were 
asked to wait our turn of audience. 

The walls of this salon were hung with rural 
scenes embroidered on tapestry set in crimson 
velvet. Large mirrors reached from the floor to 
the painted ceiling, and reflected the crystal can- 
delabra and the works of art which lined the room, 
with its crimson-satin-covered furniture on a velvet- 
pile carpet. 

Just before we were summoned to the royal 
presence, I was told it was contrary to Court 
etiquette to wear a veil, so I removed it in time 
to obey the summons of the Court official, who 

321 x 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

appeared with the papers relating to our visit ; 
and being handed over to the usher, we ran the 
gauntlet of the eyes of Chamberlain and military 
men standing about in uniform in every salon, 
and passed through a large anteroom with green- 
satin-panelled walls hung with pictures of the 
royal predecessors of the present King, and thence 
into a room like a large and splendid ballroom, 
where a lady was sitting on duty in full Court 
dress with a companion, and we were finally 
ushered into the presence of the King and Queen. 

The Queen looked fair and regal as she stood in 
the beautifully decorated French salon in a per- 
fectly-made pale pink dress trimmed with the 
finest lace, and the King was in the undress 
uniform of a Captain-General. 

The Queen looked somewhat sad as she graci- 
ously received us, and she must, indeed, have 
thought that it was another wearisome occasion 
of speeches and remarks which would be in an 
unknown tongue to her. According to the eti- 
quette of the Spanish Court, the King and Queen 
were both standing to receive us in the beautiful 
little boudoir. Indeed, the room seemed only 
arranged for such audiences. 

My introduction to the King as an English- 
woman at once met with a cordial shake of the 
hand and a pleasant " How do you do 1" after 
the Queen had gracefully greeted us. As Her 
Majesty looked pleased to see somebody from her 
native land, I begged to be allowed to address 
Her Majesty, and, passing behind the King to her 
side, I soon had the great delight of hearing her 


Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 

>peak with pleasure of the Shakespearian Bazaar 

n London, where I had last seen her as Princess 

Ena ; and when speaking of my friend, Miss 

anotha, she said, " Yes, I have known her since 

was so high/' holding her hand a little distance 
rom the floor. 

In the talk with the Spanish ladies, Alfonso 
pleased one who has rather advanced opinions by 
he gusto with which he said, ";Yes, there are indeed 
: ar too many associations in Spain !" for this 
*emark showed that His Majesty is alive to the 
svil ; and if the clerical party would only allow 
iction to be taken to prevent this overwhelming 
number of religious associations in Madrid, it 
vvould be to the joy of the country. 

For these associations ply their trades of print- 
ng, chocolate-making, boot-making, needlework, 
itc., and they undersell the trades of the lay- 
vorkers, as they have neither taxes nor rent to 
)ay. This abuse the Government was seeking to 
emove by bringing in a law for the diminution 
>f such societies, but the camarillas of the palace, 
nstigated by the clerical party, checked the pro- 
gress which Canal ej as, the President of the Con- 
gress, was making in this direction, by causing the 
all of the Ministry. It was falsely reported at 
he palace that Canalejas is atheistic and antago- 
nistic to the Church, whereas he told me himself 
,hat he is very religious. He has a private chapel 
n his house, where Mass is celebrated every day. 
:Jut, as the Minister said, this matter of the asso- 
:iations (of which many are from Belgium, France, 
ind other parts of the Continent) militating against 

323 x 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

the trade of Spain is a matter of State policy, and 
has nothing to do with religion. 

" And now the King is offended with me, and 
I have no chance of an explanation with His 
Majesty/' said the ex-Minister, who a short time 
before had been patted on the back for his zeal 
for the welfare of the land. 

When I looked at the young Queen, so tall, so 
elegant, and so alone in a foreign land, I felt how 
difficult it must be to fulfil her role to the satis- 
faction of all parties. 

The report that the expected royal heir's 
layette was to be made entirely in Spain excited 
much commendation ; but when I went to see the 
things at the best shop in Madrid, I could but 
note that they were not so fine as I had expected. 

" No, no," said the proprietor of the place ; " all 
the best things are made in the convents, and we 
have only the second and third best. The Queen, 
I believe, meant to benefit the trade of Madrid, 
for she was so sweet and gracious when she called 
here, but the priests gave most of the work to the 
societies in which they are interested." 

Moreover, the King not only expressed himself 
frankly about the associations at our audience at 
Court, but he showed a deep interest in the details 
of the Andalusian fete to which we had come to 
invite Their Majesties. It is the King's keenness 
in all matters which captivates those about him. 

" What dances will there be ?" he asked eagerly. 
" And will there be songs of the Region ?" he 
queried. To all these questions the Spanish ladies 
answered, flattered at the interest manifested. 


Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 

During the talk I was privileged to have with 
Her Majesty in English, I was charmed with her 
evident affectionate recollection of things in Eng- 
land, whilst graciously interested in the subjects 
which had brought me to Spain. 

She smiled sweetly when I kissed her hand on 
leaving, as I said I did not know whether I did 
it as a Spanish subject or as an English com- 
patriot, but in either case it was an honour I 
could not forego. 

Then, the audience over, we were conducted 
with the same pomp and ceremony as before 
through the stately salons and guarded galleries 
till we were once more in the free atmosphere of 
the Plaza de Oriente, environed by the statues 
of past Spanish Sovereigns, who looked spectral 
in the moonlight, and met by editors who wished 
to make copy out of our audience. 

The King said we could see the state apart- 
ments of the palace on the following day, but, as 
the weather was bad, I proved to be the only one 
who appeared the next morning to profit by the 
royal permission. 

There was much discussion in the Chamberlain's 
office as to the right course to pursue about my 
visit. The royal permission, which is rarely 
granted whilst Their Majesties are in residence, 
had been given to the party of ladies, and only 
one had come. Was that one to be given the 
privilege or no ? I was amused at hearing the 
flow of oratory which the subject aroused among 
those in the office, but directly I suggested myself 
deferring the visit to another day, the traditional 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

courtesy of the Spaniards gained the day, and 
with many bows and protestations of pleasure I 
was escorted past the sentries on guard by a 
courtly guide, who did the honours of the salons. 
If I describe these state apartments in the words 
of Pierre Loti, it will be seen that I do not ex- 
aggerate their magnificence, for the French author 
writes : 

' The place is decorated by Velasquez, Bayeu, 
Tiepolo, Mengs, Luis Lopez, Rubens, Vicente Lopez, 
Luis Gonzalez, etc. A whole world of splendour 
seems to unfold, and as one passes through 
what seems an interminable line of salons, all 
marked with the particular ideas of the artists 
employed on them, one is struck by a series of 

" The great frames of the doors are all made of 
agate or rare marbles, whose colours and veined 
surface harmonize beautifully with the brocades 
of the walls. 

" The Salon of Charles III. is hung with blue 
satin starred with silver. Other salons are hung 
with exquisite old satin, with furniture of the time 
of Louis XV. ; others are hung with an inimitable 
red embroidered with gold of the time of the 
Renaissance, or with pale green curiously blended 
with yellow or saffron colour, or deep blue em- 
bossed with yellow, with the stiff but elegant 
furniture of the Empire period. 

" Then there is a salon with the whole ceiling 
and panels of faience, and when the artist died 
before completing the work, his wife finished it, 
by inaugurating and superintending the exquisite 


Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 

embroidery of garlands of white and pink roses 
on panels of grey silk." 

There is another salon with the walls covered 
with cherubs of the white pottery for which the 
factory of the Retiro was famous viz., the 
throne-room, with its ceiling painted by Tiepolo, 
its crimson-satin-hung walls, its long mirrors, 
its many crystal chandeliers, its busts of the 
Roman Emperors on pedestals, and, above all, 
its magnificent throne with its crimson and 
gilt chairs. The four steps of the throne are 
guarded by two large lions of gilt brass, and the 
royal seats are flanked by figures representing 
the cardinal virtues ; and the banqueting - hall, 
with its magnificent columns, panels of porphyry 
and marble, is a perfect picture. 

Spanish ladies declare that Victoria of Spain 
looked every inch a Queen when she first took 
her seat by her royal Consort. Her diadem- 
crowned golden hair, beautiful face, and her ex- 
quisite toilettes, make a striking feature at the 
State receptions ; and when we consider that it 
was in an unknown tongue the talk went on, it 
was wonderful she could preserve her stately and 
quiet demeanour. Now the Queen has become 
mistress of the Spanish tongue, her subjects can 
admire her intellectual as well as her physical 


The protocol of the royal Court etiquette at 
Madrid and the rites of the Roman Catholic Church 
produce a pageant in the Spanish palace at the 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Feast of the Purification (commonly called Candle- 
mas) which, in splendour and solemnity, savour 
more of the Middle Ages than of the present 
practical period. 

The galleries on the first-floor of the magnificent 
quadrangular Palace of Madrid showed the advent 
of a great event, for the windows looking on to the 
spacious colonnaded courtyard were hidden by 
the fine tapestries of the same character that lined 
the walls on the opposite sides. Rich carpets 
covered the floors, and the companies of stalwart 
halberdiers, the Guard of the palace, were placed 
at ten o'clock along the corridor, bearing on their 
shoulders their halberds with the inscription, 
" Fabrica de Toledo, Alfonso XIII., 1902," which 
were presented to them when the present King 
was added to the list of the Sovereigns to whom 
the corps had the honour to be the bodyguard. 
Officials of the palace and officers constantly 
passed to and fro, giving orders and seeing that 
the soldiers stood in their right places. 

The three-cornered hats edged with white, the 
high black leggings reaching to the white breeches, 
and the blue coat decorated with scarlet badges 
bearing the castle and the crowned lion, is the 
same uniform of the Royal Guard as it was in the 
early part of the last century, and it reminds one 
of the pictures of Napoleon, etc., of that time. 

A clap of the hands from a Court official an- 
nounced the opening of a large door leading to 
the apartments of the Infanta Maria Teresa and 
her husband, Prince Ferdinand of Bavaria. Bright 
and happy looked the young Princess as she passed 


Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 

along, with her ready sweet smile for familiar 
faces, and looking quite pretty in her pale blue 
dress. The merry eyes of the stalwart, fair young 
Prince were cast about in cheerful greetings as he 
swung along in his striking blue and scarlet hussar 
uniform, with the jacket slung on one shoulder, 
revealing the richly embroidered sleeves under- 

There was a pause after the young couple passed 
to the seats set apart for the Royal Family in the 
chapel ; then the strains of a march from an opera 
were heard from the band of the Royal Hal- 
berdiers in the courtyard below, the halberdiers 
stood at attention, and the royal procession was 
seen coming along the gallery. 

The gentlemen of the Court, with the badges 
marking their respective offices, the Chamberlain, 
all in full dress, with white silk stockings and 
richly embroidered coats, were followed by the 
grandees and officers in their striking uniforms. 
They walked in two single files, so as to leave 
clear the view of the Royal Family. The Infantas 
of Bavaria and the Infanta Isabel came with their 
respective Ladies and Gentlemen in Waiting in full 
Court dress. The widowed Prince of Asturias was 
in his place, and lastly came the King in his uni- 
form as Admiral, and wearing the Order of the 
Golden Fleece and the Collar of Carlos III., and 
the procession solemnly passed through the guarded 
portals of the chapel, where the Queen-mother and 
the young Queen Victoria had already taken their 
places. For after December 25, 1886, when a 
special service was held in the royal chapel of the 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

palace, in which the Virgin's protection was peti- 
tioned for the young Sovereign, the Court was in 
gala costume for two days. A reception was held, 
congratulations received, and from then till the 
birth of the expected heir Queen Victoria did not 
sit with the King on the throne in the chapel, but 
in the royal box on the ground-floor. All eyes 
were soon turned in admiration to the youthful 
English Sovereign of Spain, who looked like a 
beautiful picture in her white mantilla shading 
her diamond-crowned beautiful hair, and dressed 
in a rich, soft white Court dress. 

The doors of the chapel were soon again flung 
open, the halberdiers were again called to atten- 
tion, and the procession issued from the chapel 
in the same order in which it had entered, only 
now it was preceded by the Canons of the palace 
and other clerics in gorgeous vestments, with the 
Archbishop of Sion in gold-and-white mitre and 
emblazoned cope ; and everybody in the procession 
carried a long candle, as they solemnly made the 
tour of the gallery to the tune of the psalm of old 
in which Simeon declared that the Babe brought 
to the Temple would be " a Light to lighten the 

The King, as he bore his candle, looked ruefully 
at his sister, as much as to say : " How am I to 
manage this ?" The Infanta smiled pleasantly, 
and her young husband's eyes twinkled with fun. 
The evident strain on the dignity of the stately 
grandees and Chamberlains to carry their lights 
befittingly gave a touch of humour to the stateli- 
ness of the scene, and I overheard a grandee say, 


(ueen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 

when he was asked by one behind him not to walk 
so slowly : " I can't go any quicker, or I shall spill 
some grease on the Infanta's train !" 

The tour of the galleries made, the procession 
returned to the chapel, the King went back to his 
throne, and Queen Victoria of Spain to the royal 
box, the Chamberlains, grandees, Court ladies, the 
Infanta Maria Teresa, the Infante Ferdinand, Don 
Carlos, and the Infantas of Spain, all knelt rever- 
ently with their candles, whilst the incense was 
swung in front of the King after he had partaken 
of the Holy Sacrament. 

Then, when the candles were removed by the 
Chamberlains, the strains from the beautiful 
stringed orchestra accompanied the fine voices 
of the hidden choir, which swelled in harmony 
in the chants of the occasion. The lofty cupola 
of the chapel, with its mythical painting supported 
by the gilt cherubs poised above the marble and 
porphyry -pillared panels of the walls, were a fitting 
setting to the scene. 

Then the candles were once more handed round, 
and the glittering company again knelt in prayer. 
When the torches were finally taken from the 
worshippers, the assembly all left the chapel in 
solemn order, each grandee kneeling in turn for 
a second before the altar, and crossing himself 
before saluting the Queens in the royal box. 
The Infanta Maria Teresa, the Infanta Isabel, and 
the Court ladies, made a low reverence to both tne 
Queens in the royal box before leaving the chapel, 
and the King, with his characteristic freedom from 
the fetters of etiquette, disregarded the scarlet 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

mat, and knelt on the carpeted floor for a minute 
before the altar ; and then with his natural grace 
he made a respectful salute to both his mother 
and his wife, and left the church, to pass once 
more with his retinue, and followed by the military, 
along the tapestry-lined galleries to the royal 

The Court of Spain is especially noted for its 
cult of symbolism. The events of the Church 
calendar are presented in a realistic way which 
is suggestive of the Middle Ages. 

I believe the Courts of Spain and Austria are 
alone in their dramatic representation of Christ's 
act of washing the feet of the disciples and feeding 
them on the eve of the Crucifixion. 




It is only by special invitation from the chief 
Court Chamberlain that one can witness the King's 
performance of this religious function on Maunday 
Thursday. Being the fortunate possessor of this 
permit, I passed at three o'clock in the afternoon 
to the Hall of Columns in the palace. There the 
Court soon assembles in state, the ladies in mag- 
nificent dresses, of which the trains are taste- 
fully arranged by the Gentlemen-in- Waiting over 
the backs of the chairs behind them, and the 
throng of nobles, Ministers, and officers in their 
gorgeous uniforms, make a brilliant show. 

The King soon appears, attended by the Bishop 

332 , 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 

of Alcala and Sion, some clerics, and twelve 
grandees in Court attire. After divesting himself 
of his sword, Alfonso is girded with a towel by 
the prelate, and passes to the line of beggars, who 
sit humbly waiting for the honour which is to be 
paid them. 

These poor men are chosen by lottery about a 
fortnight preceding the function, and their feet 
naturally undergo a course of preparation prior to 
the ceremony, and they are all swathed in the long 
Spanish cloaks given them for the occasion. 

The twelve grandees in attendance have mean- 
while knelt in front of the twelve beggars and 
taken off their shoes, and the forms of these 
stately personages in this humble position make 
a sort of screen between the eye of the public and 
the King's action of passing a towel over the feet 
of the poor men, which have been sprinkled from the 
gold ewer of the Bishop who precedes the Sovereign. 

The King then passes to the long table, of the 
form and laid in the style familiar to us in pictures 
of the Last Supper, and the beggars are handed 
by their respective grandees to their seats at the 
board. The poor men on the last occasion were 
blind, but this in no way affected their calm 
acceptance of the fact of being the cynosure of a 
Court in splendid state and the object of their 
Sovereign's service. Stolid were the faces as the 
King swiftly passed the items of the long menu 
before their sightless eyes, and as the smell of the 
good things was wafted to their nostrils they knew 
that time would give them a more substantial 
realization of the dainties. 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

For the dish of each part of the menu found its 
way to the baskets for the respective beggars, after 
being handed by the King to the grandees in 
attendance. Thus twelve large pieces of salmon, 
twelve joints of beef, and a dozen dishes of every 
item, were distributed by the august purveyor. 

The menu finished, His Majesty completed the 
programme by handing also the glasses and cruets 
to the distinguished retinue, they also finding their 
way to the poor guests ; and finally the King con- 
cluded the function by folding up the tablecloth 
with the zest characteristic of his actions. 

The final privilege granted to these beggars on 
Maunday Thursday is the sight of the state apart- 
ments. This benefit seems to be thrown away on 
those whose affliction deprives them of the ap- 
preciation of their splendour, but etiquette must 
be preserved. 

On Good Friday the King exercises his power of 
pardoning criminals, so he stands in front of the 
high-altar, and, raising to heaven the gold salver 
containing the names of the privileged persons, 
he says : " These I pardon for their crimes, even 
as I hope God will pardon my sins." 

The carving of the lamb on Easter Sunday is 
quite a religious function at the King's table. 
The Bishop of Zion has a service of benediction, 
and the King and Queen take their places in state 
on this occasion. 

One of the most striking ceremonies preceding 
the birth of a royal infant in the palace is that of 
transporting the arm of St. John the Baptist, a 


Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 

sash said to have belonged to the Virgin Mary, 
and other relics, from the chapel to the bedroom 
of the Queen. The King and the Court all take 
Dart in the function, attended with all the cere- 
mony due to the occasion, and so fatiguing 
is the ritual that in May, 1907, Queen Victoria 
nearly fainted during the performance. Indeed, 
so many are the wearisome rites which Queen 
Victoria had to follow, according to the customs 
of the Court of Spain, that more than one editor 
of a democratic paper declared that if he were 
nterested in the royal succession he would see 
that the authorities did not thus imperil it. 

On Saturday afternoon the King and Queen go 
:o hear the Salve in a quiet, simple fashion at the 
Church of the Buen Suceso. Women who press 
:heir hungry children to their bosoms as they gaze 
ip into the face of the young Queen as she sits in 
:he royal box on this occasion wonder if Her 
Vtajesty knows what their sufferings are. The 
ise in the price of bread, which the Spanish Press 
ipeaks of as an act of unjustifiable oppression, 
ecently drove the women to desperation, and 
nade them break the windows of the bakers' 
.hops in some quarters of the city. This strong 
neasure was successful, and bread is now at its 
usual price ; for, as a Spanish lady said, " The 
determination of hardly- driven mothers can accom- 
plish more than the discussions of men." 

The poor people who greeted the Queen with 
such loud acclamations on her arrival in Spain 
wonder, moreover, if she knows that the liberal 
gifts bestowed on such festivals as the King's 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Saint's Day (January 23) to the orphans of the 
Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Real Association de 
Beneficencia Domiciliaria, etc., are devoted to the 
maintenance of the friars and nuns of these asso- 
ciations rather than to the benefit of the needy. 

The Queen's philanthropic spirit is, moreover, 
only appealed to on behalf of the orphanages and 
schools in the hands of the clerics, and so she is not 
in touch with the lay side of her country's efforts. 

" If such serious matters as the lessening of the 
heavy duties on articles of food which go to the 
support of the friars, and the limitation of the 
associations which kill our industries, are not soon 
settled by the Government, they will be settled in 
the street !" say many thoughtful men in Spain ; 
and it was those who saw the seriousness of the 
aspect who expressed their disappointment that 
the English Queen was so gracious in her reception 
of the deputation which presented the King with 
a petition, signed by leading ladies of fashion, 
against the Law of Associations ; for these ladies 
are naturally unable to realize the struggles of 
their sisters against the monopoly by these associa- 
tions of many of the industries on which their 
bread depends, such as chocolate-making, perfume- 
distilling, embroidery, lace-making, etc. 

A bitter smile wreathes the lips of people as 
they read of the royal sympathy for these organiza- 
tions, but they say : " What can one expect, when 
the young Queen is only environed with Spanish 
ladies, whose support of the clerics smoothes their 
lives, and with the Spanish priests, who dictate every 
deed of sympathy to the Sovereigns of Spain ?" 


Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 

In speaking of Queen Victoria, it must be re- 
membered that all opinions expressed are modified 
by the reminder of the Queen's difficulty of know- 
ing the real circumstances of a strange land of 
which she had to master the language, and that 
conventional greetings, gala receptions, and State 
dinners, do not lead to a true knowledge of the 
country and its needs. 

It is hoped by patriots that the Queen's advent 
will lead to the adoption of a system of Parlia- 
mentary elections in Spain similar to that of 
England ; for, as everybody says, if the deputies 
of the Congress were elected by the votes of the 
people instead of by the voice of the Ministers, 
the country's conventional love would be cemented 
into real devotion to the dynasty, and the reforms 
would be enacted which would save the land from 
stagnation and poverty. 

The article published in an English review by a 
Spaniard, called " Spain's Hopes of a New Era/' 
showed that the English Queen was looked upon 
as the coming saviour of the country from much 
that has so far crippled it ; and the twenty-four 
short articles and poems published in the Woman's 
Agricultural Times from the pens of leading literary 
and professional ladies, begging their future Sove- 
reign to encourage the lighter branches of agricul- 
ture as professions for women, show the hoped-for 
result of the new reign. 

Disappointment has been expressed that this 
spontaneous act from Spanish women of note, 
many of whom have influence in the Press, has 
not so far resulted in any royal act of encourage- 

337 Y 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

ment in the direction desired ; so the people do 
not know whether their Sovereign is in sympathy 
with their needs or not. Directly Her Majesty is 
in touch with the more progressive women of her 
country the Press will be filled with the fact, and 
the warm hearts of the people will beat with 
gratitude, and they will be able to talk about 
more than the beauty of the Queen's hair and 

The Spanish Court seemed to surpass itself in 
magnificence in the splendid functions of the 
christening of the first heir to the throne. 

Every seat in the chapel of the royal palace was 
reserved for those of the highest degree, and the 
gallery along which the royal procession passed on 
its way from the royal apartments to the church 
was crowded by people, who could only gain 
admittance by tickets from the Chief Chamberlain 
of the palace. 

The magnificent tapestries only used on State 
occasions were displayed, the halberdiers lined 
the way, and the ladies, all in mantillas, with their 
cavaliers in uniform or evening dress, waited in 
breathless impatience for the advent of the new 
Prince of Asturias. At last came the announcing 
hand-clap, and with solemn, stately step the pro- 
cession came round the angle of the gallery. 

First came the mace-bearers, then the ushers, 
all in double file, then two long lines of Chamber- 
lains in gold-laced coats and white silk stockings, 
followed by the grandees of Spain in their striking 
military uniforms and feathered cocked hats. Then 
came seven grandees carrying the seven salvers 



Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 

with such requisites for the holy ceremony as a 
salt-cellar, a gold basin and ewer, a cut lemon, a 
lace towel, a cape, and a large cake. Behind this 
party came the royal Prince himself, looking really 
an ideal infant in his beautiful laces. His fair little 
uncovered head, and sweet, placid, tiny face, and 
clenched fists were the admiration of all beholders. 
He was in the arms of the Marquesa de los Llanos, 
who is the chief of his retinue, and on one side 
walked the Nuncio, who is the representative of 
His Holiness, as godfather, and on the other was 
the Queen-mother, as the godmother. The King 
looked dignified in his new position, as father. 
The Infantes and Infantas followed, with their 
suites. The Infanta Maria Teresa and her hus- 
band, Infante Fernando, being only convalescent 
from measles, were unable to be present. Don 
Carlos, the widowed husband of the King's late 
sister, the Infanta Mercedes, led little Prince 
Alfonso, who was known as the heir to the throne 
until the birth of his little cousin, and by the 
way he tripped along and evidently enjoyed the 
brilliant sight he seemed in no way saddened by 
his deposition from his former rank. 

It was then understood that Don Carlos would 
marry before long the beautiful daughter of the 
Princess of Orleans. 

The little sister of the ex-heir was led by the 
hand by the Infanta Isabel, at whose side walked 
Princess Henry of Battenberg, beautifully robed 
in grey velvet and ermine. Prince Arthur of Con- 
naught, with Captain Wyndham and the Princes 
from Russia and Germany, etc., all had their 

339 Y 2 

The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

places in the procession. China was also repre- 
sented. The personal staff of the King was con- 
spicuous, and the halberdier band of music mar- 
shalled the glittering throng to the chapel. 

The altar was decorated with white flowers. 
The historic font in which the members of the 
Royal Family have for centuries been baptized 
was in the centre of the chapel. 

Thirty-six Bishops and four Cardinals officiated. 
The royal neophyte was very good in the arms of 
his grandmother, Queen Maria Cristina. The 
water sprinkled on his brow was from the River 
Jordan. The christening ceremony over, the King 
decorated his infant son with the Order of the 
Golden Fleece, the Order of Isabella the Catholic, 
and the Collar of Charles III. All the ladies of 
the Court were in full dress. 

Then the procession filed back to the royal 
apartments in the same order in which it had 
come. The dresses of the ladies of the nobility 
were all rich in colour and profuse with splendid 
jewels. The white satin, gold-embroidered train 
of the Duchess of Ariot set off the beauty of her 

Amid the many stately personages, the majestic 
figure of Sir Maurice de Bunsen was conspicuous, 
and Lady de Bunsen attracted attention by her 
beauty and her beautiful and yet simple Court 
dress. The ceremony was, indeed, one not easily 
to be forgotten as the occasion of a gathering of 
important personages or their representatives from 
far and near, and no infant could have taken its 
prominent part on such an important occasion 


Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 

with greater equanimity than did the beautiful 
babe the Prince of Asturias. To sleep and to 
smile seem easy things to do, but to do them 
during the solemn, stately functions in which 
Church and State meet together to do him honour 
is not always an easy thing for an eight-day-old 
infant, and by accomplishing this task little Prince 
Alfonso added to the affection and admiration 
with which he is regarded. 

It is always pleasant to Queen Victoria Eugenie 
to pass from the pageantry and pomp of the palace 
of Madrid to the less formal surroundings of the 
country. It is by no mere figure of speech that 
it can be said that when they are at the Palace of 
San Ildefonso, at La Granja, King Alfonso and 
Queen Victoria Eugenie lead the simple life. 

The King rises early in the morning, and takes 
a long walk or ride sometimes alone, sometimes 
attended by one gentleman, and sometimes accom- 
panied by the Queen or he has a bicycle spin in 
the grounds. 

Not long since, when the King was driving alone 
with the Queen in a motor, he saw a soldier thrown 
from his horse, upon which he immediately jumped 
from his automobile and rushed to the assistance 
of the poor man. 

The King's interest in his soldiers is very marked, 
and when the bell rang at dinner-time, when he 
was in consultation one morning with the com- 
manding officer, he went with him to inspect the 
food, and tasted it himself. 

The Prime Minister could hardly hide his sur- 
prise, when he arrived from Madrid one day to 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

transact political business, to meet his Sovereign 
in his shirt-sleeves, the young King having taken 
off his coat, as it was a hot day for golfing. 

King Alfonso and Queen Victoria like to go 
about unattended together, and the Spanish cus- 
tom of wearing no hat in the country has been 
quite adopted by the English Sovereign ; and 
people in the little town are pleased to see the 
Queen pass by on foot to pay a visit to some 
friends without anything on her head, but, of 
course, carrying a parasol. Both the Sovereigns 
spend hours with their baby son in the beautiful 
gardens of La Granja. The King will often take 
him in his arms and carry him about, or if they 
meet the baby Prince in his little white carriage 
when they are out walking they stop and fondle 
and talk to him. 

The Queen is beginning to share King Alfonso's 
interest in golf, and, indeed, she takes her part 
well in the game, and can easily do the full 
round over the rough ground without any sign of 

When the weather is too hot for golf, Her Maj esty 
much enjoys a peaceful afternoon by the river, 
trout-fishing. In this sport she is quite an expert, 
and the large basket of fish caught by the Queen 
and the Duquesa de San Carlos was carried home 
in triumph on one occasion, and figured on the 
royal menu for dinner. 

In the Court, surrounded by courtiers and people, 
whose role is to please, the Queen may hardly 
gauge the depth of Spain's devotion to their 
English Sovereign. 


Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 

When the people of Galicia presented the island 
of Cortegada to Alfonso XIII., they said it was 
also a tribute of sympathy to their Queen. " It 
will be nice for Her Majesty to be within sight 
of the English ships as they lie at anchor off the 
coast/' they said. " It will be easy to go to 
England from there, and she will perhaps be 
reminded of her Isle of Wight. Then, we hope to 
see King Edward in the Spanish island home.'' 

The enthusiasm for England is very great since 
the royal alliance, and for the successful recom- 
mendation of any fashion, game, or sport it is 
only necessary to say it is English. 

It is, therefore, hoped that a nearer acquaint- 
ance with our Parliamentary system will lead to 
its adoption in Spain. 

As, in face of his overwhelming influence, it 
is not possible for the people to elect a deputy of 
either party in opposition to the one chosen or 
supported by the cacique of the district, the 
deputies elected by public vote have mostly been 
republicans. Hence the suffrage is associated 
with republicanism in Spain, and Catalonia, 
where this has been successful, is connected with 
the idea of Separatism. Thus, with the misreport 
of things in Madrid, it is thought that Catalonia 
is wanting in Monarchists. But whenever the 
wisdom of the King leads to a royal visit to Bar- 
celona, the enthusiasm for the royal visitor always 
proves that the Press has misinterpreted the state 
of feeling there ; and the welcome that will be 
given to Queen Victoria when she makes the 
long-looked-for visit to Barcelona will show that 


The Secret History of the Court of Spain 

Catalonia is also content that an English Queen 
should reign over them. 

At Cortegada the peasants to whom I was intro- 
duced made the sign of the cross, for they said 
they had never seen an Englishwoman before ; but 
they had one for their Queen, and she was welcome 
in the land. 

' Viva la Reina Victoria !" was the cry which 
floated across the moonlit waters as the peasants 
returned to the mainland after the celebration of 
their annual festival on the island which had beer 
offered for the acceptance of the King and the 
Queen, and, indeed, this cry is echoed throughou 1 
the land. 


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One dollar on seventh day overdue. 

UN 9 19* 

DEC 2 7 1961 

Sjul' tf l 

JAN 4196638 

&EC7 '65 -5PM 
MAY 8 1968 5 9 I 


JUL25196 3 


LD21-100m.l2,'46(A2012sMAR2l 5 '65 '10 AM 




REC. C!t MAV 1 5 JOT;